This time last year—at our annual Supplier Summit in Orlando—we encouraged suppliers to consider making more of their products here in the U.S. We’d just announced our pledge to buy $250 billion in American products over the next 10 years and we were looking for some first movers to get in on the ground floor.
Element TV was one of those first movers. With our commitment and that of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and their investment, Element found that the numbers worked and they could be cost-competitive. They moved into a facility in Winnsboro, S.C. And this March, just one year later, assembly is under way and they’ve created 150 jobs.
By the time they’re fully up and running, there will be 500 new jobs in Winnsboro. The TVs will be in arriving in our stores next month. And this is just the start. With changes in labor and energy costs, it is becoming increasingly cost-effective to manufacture products closer to the point of consumption. We’ve found that the math works in other categories too—from towels to socks, toys, light bulbs and shoes. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that over the next 10 years, our $250 billion investment will create 1 million jobs—in manufacturing and related service jobs. That’s opportunity. It’s not PR. It’s math, and it’s real.