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Monday, April 20, 2009

Armaly: Helping America Clean Since 1908

Quality sponges for car, boat and home made in Benton Harbor, Michigan!

It’s funny how we get in the habit of buying the same things without even thinking. Even simple things like cleaning sponges for example. For many years I have used the same brand of sponges mainly because I like the colorful designs (good reason, eh?). While shopping for sponges recently, I couldn’t find the ones I usually buy (which I’ve discovered are made in Taiwan) so I started looking around for a good replacement.

Deciding to take my own advice and “look at labels,” I found Estracell sponges made by Armaly, an American company that has made sponges for a variety of uses since 1908.

These sponges caught my eye because they claim to be more sanitary. They are made from a material that dries quickly, eliminating breeding conditions for bacteria and fungus. But best of all, they are made in the U.S.A. They aren’t exactly attractive (they are a dark ugly green) and don’t have fun, funky designs on them but they get the job done and they really do dry fast!

After researching Armaly, I discovered they are headquartered in Walled Lake, Michigan and their products are made at a plant in Benton Harbor, Michigan (by American workers). They make sponges for commercial use, such as industrial cleaning, as well as for homes, boats and autos.

Read more about the many innovative products Armaly makes at

Monday, April 6, 2009

Do You Know Where Your Vitamins are Made?

My friend Sarah Glinka brought up a good point recently: Where do you buy American-made vitamins?

Many Americans have no clue where the nutritional supplements they put into their bodies and those of their children are manufactured. And most people would be shocked to find out that most of these products are made in unregulated facilities in Asia.

While most supplements are "distributed" by American companies, many times the identity of the manufacturer is conspicuously left off the packaging. With the lead and melamine-laced products that have come out of China within the last year, the last thing you want to do is put something "foreign" into your system.

In researching American vitamin companies, I discovered three companies that manufacture supplements right here in the U.S.A. While they do get some of their ingredients from other countries (which is unavoidable), all three companies adhere to the FDA Good Manufacturing Process.

One drawback is that these companies' products must be bought online, by phone or catalog, but the good news: they each have informative websites, and offer special shipping rates and reasonable prices.

Here's the rundown:

Puritan's Pride
This company, headquartered in Long Island, NY, began manufacturing nutritional supplements more than 40 years ago. I'm not sure everything they sell, like personal care products, is American-made so be sure to ask if it's not clear. (Overall, I have been pleased with the vitamin supplements I have purchased from them.)

On their website the company states that they ONLY sell products that are Made In America. Their Dee Cee Labs vitamins are made in a "FDA approved facility in Tennessee." Otherwise, they don't say exactly where the products are made.

Hillestad Pharmaceuticals USA
Hillestad® Pharmaceuticals, located in the Northwoods of northern Wisconsin, has been manufacturing food supplements since 1959. They even offer tours of their manufacturing facility.
While this site doesn't carry all American-made products, they do offer great deals on products you will find at your local health food store. First-time customers can also get $5 off their first order when they use the code: RIT 744

Here's to your good health! Shop wisely.