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Green Furniture Maker Keeps It in the Family, and the US

So many U.S. manufacturing jobs have been outsourced. It’s easy to forget that some things are still made in America, though making it in America involves commitment and ingenuity.

Just ask Kevin Sauder, who runs Sauder Woodworking in Archbold, Ohio. "We're a third-generation family business," he says, "and I want this business to be around for four and five generations."

Sauder, with 2,100 employees, is the largest manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture in the country, providing private label products for companies Ikea, Target, and Wal-mart. Much of the furniture is made in Ohio, even in the face of cheaper competition overseas. Perhaps more surprising, the company has been pioneering sustainable business practices from the start.

Sauder Woodworking has been recognized for reusing or recycling 96 percent of its solid waste, including a $12 million power plant which uses burning sawdust to generate electricity. Government rebates and incentives have helped offset those investment costs, but Kevin Sauder says his company would have eventually gotten around to making the changes without any financial aid.

"Our family is a Mennonite family, and our heritage is a heritage of stewardship, servanthood and trying to make the best use of our resources…green is a part of this."


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