I have been contemplating opening a store that focuses on American-made tools and hardware. This is for a couple of reasons, starting with the fact that such a store does not currently exist and I have been looking for something like this for a long time.
Lately, there has been interest from a couple of possible investors. To that end, I recently conducted a survey on Amazon Mechanical Turk of the hardware store concept. In this random sample of 100 people from California, the vast majority had very positive things to say about the concept. I paid $2.00 each for their responses, and they voted as follows:
1. Do you believe American-made tools are generally better than Chinese tools?
Yes - 90%
No - 10%
2. Assuming that an American-made tool has a lifetime warranty and is also better than the Chinese equivalent, would you be willing to spend approximately 35% more to buy the American tool?
Yes - 72%
No - 28%
3. How much more (in percent/%) would you be willing to spend on an American-made tool over a Chinese tool?
0-25% - 25%
20-40% - 35%
40-60% - 17%
60-80% - 10%
80-100% - 13%
4. Some very high quality tools are made in Germany and Japan. Should I carry these tools if they are better than the American-made equivalent?
Yes - 88%
No - 12%
5. If I carry foreign tools, should I put miniature flags next to or on each product showing where they are made?
Yes - 55%
No - 45%
6. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the concept of a primarily Made in USA hardware store?
1-2 - 2.5%
2-4 - 4.5%
4-5 - 6%
5-7 - 28.5%
7-8 - 25%
8-10 - 33.5%
7. Would you want to shop at a hardware store where 90% of the products are Made in USA and labeled accordingly?
Yes - 90%
No - 10%
8. I'm thinking about including sales tax in the prices. That way people can come in and know exactly what they are going to spend. However, the prices will be higher because of that. Do you think I should include sales tax?
Yes - 65%
No - 35%
People also wrote some lengthy narrative responses, which are available in the attached Excel file, including the raw data. Some of the responses were very helpful and interesting, such as the following excerpts:
"Made in USA shows you have compassion and want to keep jobs alive within our country by supporting/selling these goods."
"Having 100% of your tools made in the USA would make the store incredibly unique and would be less confusing (similar to how everything at a dollar store is $1). I think it's a good idea to try something like this. Many people in my community would jump at the chance to shop at a store like this. I don't really buy tools often but if this type of store was near me, I would go there first compared to Lowe's or Home Depot."
"You should have an area where they can test out some of the tools, and compare them to cheap China made products. That way people can actually see the difference in the product they are about to purchase, a little reassurance."
Based on the survey, I am confident this is a great concept and will be worth doing.
Last updated: January 30, 2020
© Andrew G. Watters