We made the case in Part I of this blog series for the seismic shift toward Made in the USA displays. We believe the trend toward reshoring and nearshoring will not only disrupt well established industry supply chains in the short term but will give rise to permanent rebalancing of supply chains for years to come.
This rebalancing will reduce the current overreliance on Asian manufacturing sources as brands, retailers, and industries suppliers look to better manage supply chain risk, while leveraging the benefits of moving more production closer to home. While this trend is expected to have an inflationary impact on the industry’s cost structure, it will also result in shorter lead times and improved levels of service in the industry.
Our focus today is to share the first 10 of 40 examples of Made in the USA displays that we hope will provide encouragement and inspiration to industry participants involved in the reshoring and nearshoring movement.
- Moet Hennessy Sam’s Club Anti-Theft Display– An example of a material that is generally readily available in the USA is PVC which is an expanded plastic sheet substrate often sold under brand names such as Sintra or Palight. It is a lightweight but rigid substrate which is good for printing and is often used to make signs. Foamed PVC in the USA tends to be better quality than the softer foamed PVC that is commonplace in China. We used it to create this Moet Hennessy anti-theft display for Sam’s Club stores. The display featured vivid direct printed graphics and tear pads that enabled customers to tear off a product sheet and take it to the register for checkout.
- Teak Tea Floor Display– Because of North America’s natural resource advantage related to timber products compared to Asia, wood displays have traditionally been very cost competitive with Asian-manufactured wood displays. This is particularly true with solid wood products and is less so the case with wood composite and engineered wood products like MDF. The Teak Tea display shown below is a simple but impactful 2-sided mobile merchandiser we made using solid wood and unfinished birch plywood. We added a white washed finish and direct printed the interchangeable PVC side and header signs.
- Wonderful Pistachios Floor Display– China produces 51% of the world’s steel supply and continues to hold a strong cost advantage over the U.S. when it comes to metal POP displays and store fixtures. However, for some fixtures like the completely welded metal mobile merchandiser we made for Wonderful Pistachios, the cost differential between the U.S. and China shrinks considerably after factoring in tariffs and the recent explosion in ocean freight rates. While many metal displays and metal components will continue to be manufactured overseas, time to market considerations, quality, and reliability will continue to provide U.S. buyers with compelling reasons to consider shifting more metal production to domestic manufacturing.
- Zen-Me Floor Displays– The Zen-Me floor displays shown below provide a good example of the results that can be achieved when there is a tight coupling between design and manufacturing. Our industrial design team worked closely with our U.S. production team to create this display duo. We started with the tall display case which we built out of MDF with a Solicor laminate. We built an acrylic case with a pedestal and individual product risers. We added a direct printed PVC back panel and backlit header with down lighting to illuminate the products. We fabricated the companion piece which was a large lightbox that served as a high-tech demo table. The second image below shows the lighted case.
- Pasta Mama’s Floor Display– Another example of a floor display that plays to U.S. manufacturing strength is the wood floor display we made for Pasta Mama’s. We used solid pine, a softwood that is generally affordable and available in the U.S. We printed the PVC header and shelf signs on our digital flatbed printer. The display has a natural and organic feel, and the fact that we made it domestically lends credibility to the sustainability and environmentally friendly narrative.
- Oral Care Counter Display– This Made in the USA display is simple in its design, but its high-quality execution helps to elevate the perceived value of the sustainable oral care products featured on the display. We used bamboo for the base since it is a highly sustainable material. We screen printed on the front of the base and then added a piece of thick clear acrylic with individual recessed wells to hold the product.
- Wood Placard– We manufactured this wood placard for Stone Brewing Co. It can be used as a stand-alone branding element similar to a logo block, or it can be incorporated as a sign in a display. It’s a good example of what can happen when you combine solid wood material, laser engraving, and a torched finish executed by skilled millwork artisans.
- Glass Display Case– We made this pull-out glass display case as a part of a high-end fixture set that went into the newly renovated retail space at Hotel Del Coronado. We combined a metal base, a wood drawer structure, and a glass case to create a seamless highly functional premium merchandiser that proved to be an ideal fit for a luxury tourist retail space.
- Stelle Floor Display– We made this Stelle Smart Pillar floor display to go in Nieman Marcus stores. We used MDF with a white melamine finish for the structure. We direct printed the front and back panels and then embedded a digital media player which played a continuous looping video that synched with the Smart Pillar speaker.
- Modarri Floor Display– Our last Made in the USA display example for today is the Modarri model car display shown below. This MDF and acrylic display was ideal to make in the USA because it is relatively bulky and is not easy to knock-down. Therefore, it would be expensive to ship on a container. In addition, we were able to leverage our in-house printing capabilities to create a graphic-intensive display that is inviting to kids who could test drive the model cars on the race track we printed on the main display surface.
Thanks for checking out these 10 examples of Made in the USA displays. Be sure to look for Part III of our series where we will share another 10 examples.
Jim Hollen is the owner and President of RICH LTD. (www.richltd.com), a 35+ year-old California-based point-of-purchase display, retail store fixture, and merchandising solutions firm which has been named among the Top 50 U.S. POP display companies for 9 consecutive years. A former management consultant with McKinsey & Co. and graduate of Stanford Business School, Jim has served more than 3000 brands and retailers over more than 20 years and has authored nearly 500 blogs and e-Books on a wide range of topics related to POP displays, store fixtures, and retail merchandising.
Jim has been to China more than 50 times and has worked directly with more than 30 factories in Asia across a broad range of material categories, including metal, wood, acrylic, injection molded and vacuum formed plastic, corrugated, glass, LED lighting, digital media player, and more. He also oversees RICH LTD.’s domestic manufacturing operation and has experience manufacturing, sourcing, and importing from numerous Asian countries as well as Vietnam and Mexico.
His experience working with brands and retailers spans more than 25 industries such as food and beverage, apparel, consumer electronics, cosmetics/beauty, sporting goods, automotive, pet, gifts and souvenirs, toys, wine and spirits, home improvement, jewelry, eyewear, footwear, consumer products, mass market retail, specialty retail, convenience stores, and numerous other product/retailer categories.