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Many may already buy local, but is there room in the manufacturing industry for local Vancouver companies?
What was the last item you bought that you know was made in Vancouver? Some jam? A dress? A bag?
Local manufacturing used to be a vital part of every city—but with the advent of mechanization, then later globalization and outsourcing, those cottage industries grew into factories and those factories moved far away from the people who purchased the products. Eventually manufacturing became synonymous with big industry, not community.
But much the same way people first began eating local food, then became interested in wearing locally made clothing, the desire to purchase other locally produced products is making a comeback. Local manufacturing, it seems, is hip.
I bring this up because I recently received a press release inviting me to a truly cool event: “Locally Made, a celebration of the city’s local manufacturing sector and the companies and people that bring locally produced products to fruition.”
Unfortunately this celebration of industries that range from autos to pet products, and baby care to print products is in San Francisco.
But the invite got me thinking. According to the SFMade website, local manufacturing offers consumers “higher quality, shorter leadtimes, more responsive customer service, and more frequent new product offerings, as compared to much larger, cost-driven national or international competitors.” It also employs locally people in highly skilled, well-paid positions.
A recent New York Times article suggests that local manufacturing may well be the wave of the future. And, it suggests, this is good news. Local products tend to be more ethically created and because of the higher production costs they are often less disposable.
So while I guess I won’t be attending a local “Locally Made Week” this year, I’m hopeful the concept will catch on in Vancouver.