Below is a piece written by one of our members, Alan Schechter, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Gordon Brush Mfg. Co., Inc., illustrating a challenge Gordon Brush has recently encountered. As the mission of American Made Matters is to educate consumers, we feel it is important to share this piece and show the challenges of American makers.
Why American Made Matters: American Manufacturing Upholds the American Way of Life
Gordon Brush Mfg. Co., Inc. has been making a premium line of brushes in the United States for 65 years. One of the company’s premier brands, Milwaukee Dustless Brush, has even longer standing roots, dating back to 1897. Milwaukee Dustless Brush is one of the oldest American manufacturers of brooms and brushes for the janitorial industry.
Gordon Brush is an ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer of specialty, custom and standard brushes for industrial and consumer purposes. The company makes the FootMate® System as well as over 15,000 other medical, industrial, janitorial, and electronic brushes at its 183,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in the City of Industry, California. The company stocks over 2,000 different brushes for same day shipment.
The company recently moved from a 51,000 square foot facility in Commerce, California to a 183,000 square foot facility in the City of Industry. The company has aggressive growth plans for sales and the hiring of additional personnel.
The company sells brushes to the medical, electronics, manufacturing, military, aerospace, pharmaceutical, and many other industries. Patriotism is paramount at Gordon Brush. Gordon Brush has made brushes for the United States Army to clean the main gun on the Abrams tanks, saving the Department of Defense over $1.5 billion. The company also made brushes that were used on the space shuttle, the lunar module, and the Apache helicopter.
Gordon Brush has been featured on the ION Network, Discovery Channel, Bloomberg News, The Real, The Today Show, and in the Los Angeles Times. The company has received Member Resolution No. 1402, sponsored by Senator Ronald S. Calderon, 30th California State Senate District, which recognized Gordon Brush’s unwavering commitment to manufacture products made in California and the United States.
In February of 2012, Gordon Brush created its only consumer product, The FootMate® System. The FootMate® System is a brush and specially formulated gel that goes in the bath or shower to clean and massage your feet without having to bend over. FootMate® System sales have had hockey-stick growth and the product has received numerous accolades, write-ups, fame; the product has been featured on the Today Show with Kathy Lee and Hoda and the Fox syndicated talk show called The Real with Jeannie Mai, Loni Love, Tamera Mowry, Tamar Braxton, and Adrienne Bailon.
Gordon Brush is extremely proud of its FootMate System®, and was dismayed to find that it has been copied by a Chinese company. While the company has competed with Chinese-made brushes before, it was very difficult to find out that it now has to compete with a knock-off of its own highly successful American-made product. The Footmate® brush has over 11,000 bristles and weighs over three pounds, compared to the 1,000 bristle product made by the Chinese competitor.
Allowing the Chinese to flagrantly and wittingly copy American-made products and sell these knock-offs in the United States cuts at the soul of American culture and at the heart of the American ideal. It undermines our raison d’être, our economy, and our value and belief systems.
For Gordon Brush, the Chinese knock-off of the FootMate® System could cost the company dearly in sales and profits and perhaps in the fame it has brought the company. How can a small company compete? How can these unfair trade practices be allowed? How can the blatant disregard for intellectual property be allowed? How can the U.S. government allow the destruction of the economic foundation of a company, let alone a country?
Gordon Brush is a small company, but it has been a home to people who have come to this country for a better way of life—the American Dream. Second generation employees now work for the company, which speaks volumes for our company culture. Gordon Brush is not just a job, it is a family. What will happen to these people if Gordon Brush goes out of business?
The microcosm that is Gordon Brush is a mere anecdote to the many other American companies, big and small, that are falling prey to Chinese knock-offs. The implications for American way of life going forward are devastating. American manufacturers, who create family sustaining jobs, need our government to protect us against these knockoffs.
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Gordon Brush Mfg. Co., Inc.