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Toy recalls? Buy local

Recent recalls of shoddy Chinese-made toys has left parents and grandparents searching for American-made alternatives.

With confidence shaken in imported toys it makes sense to try to buy American-made toys instead. However, the reality of the toy trade becomes quickly evident: approximately 80% of all toys sold in this country are made in China. This leads many to an assumption that they will not be able to find domestic alternatives.

Maple Landmark Woodcraft, of Middlebury, VT, is helping to fill the gap. With 28 years of experience, it is has been giving toy buyers a choice right from the start. For the companys highly experienced 27 employees, quality is second nature, and with a wide product line of nearly 1,000 items, a wide variety of toy and gift needs can be fulfilled. The range includes infant rattles and toddler toys to games and gifts. Trains are perennially favorite products.

Not only does Maple Landmark ask buyers to consider Vermont-made products, the company practices buying locally and domestically as well. Lumber comes from the abundant local forests; even the finishes and coatings used are sourced from Vermont companies.

Mike Rainville, company president, stated that there are no plans to consider offshore products and that there are a number of advantages to producing product right here, We can give quicker service and respond quicker to changes in customer needs. Our lead times do not include long-distance transportation. We also have greater immediate control over the process and quality control. We monitor our product as it happens, not after it is done, shipped, and delivered. Finally, we have the capabilities to quickly make specialty products in short runs.

Rainville went on to discuss the differences in domestic versus Chinese production, specifically worker welfare and environmental protection. We certainly dont do everything perfectly right in this country, but I believe we do things better than the low-wage countries, he said.

These unique products are available nationwide at over 2,200 specialty retailers as well as several websites.

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