Two Local Businesses Appear in National Gift Guide

NEW ORLEANS – The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) unveiled their 2018 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide in late November, and two southeast Louisiana-based small businesses are featured on the list – Tchoup Industries and Bergeron Woodworks. 

The owners of both companies see it as a win for the local economy and the environment.

“The Alliance for American Manufacturing chose Tchoup (Industries) and Bergeron Woodworks because they show a deep commitment to making quality products in the U.S. that support American jobs and care for the environment,” said Jesús Espinoza, the press secretary for AAM. “These two companies stand out as great examples of American manufacturers’ dedication and craftsmanship.”

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The Alliance for American Manufacturing was established by domestic manufacturers and the United Steelworkers, North America’s largest industrial union, with a simple mission: to strengthen American manufacturing through smart public policies.

Each year, the organization compiles a state-by-state holiday gift guide, highlighting products made within the country and, as a result, supports local jobs and sustainability. 

According to a study conducted by Civic Economics, a private research firm, on average, 48-percent of each purchase made from a local independent business was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14-percent of each transaction that occurred at a chain store.

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“We want to use our national platform to broaden local companies’ exposure,” said Espinoza.

Both Tchoup Industries and Bergeron Woodworks were contacted by AAM about the gift guide.

David Bergeron, the owner of Bergeron Woodworks, creates wooden picture frames, decorative boxes, and even furniture, from locally salvaged lumber, sometimes discarded during historic New Orleans home and building renovation projects; this keeps the lumber out of the landfills.

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(gallery frames from bergeronwoodworks.net)

Bergeron believes small local businesses “keep communities unique” and provide “greater access to diverse” products. And although his work has been sold by retailers throughout the country, Bergeron appreciates the national exposure the gift guide provides, and the chance to promote his message of “environmental ethical responsibility” to a new demographic.

       

(gallery table from bergeronwoodworks.net)

Patti Dunn, the founder of Tchoup Industries, said it’s a “huge honor” to represent Louisiana in the gift guide. 

Tchoup Industries creates back packs, shoulder bags and travel accessories by using local materials, services, labor and talent. Most of their repurposed materials are sourced from areas near New Orleans, and entirely within the U.S. They include hand-woven fabrics, alligator leathers, repurposed rice bags, custom stainless-steel hook closures, and nutria fur, among other commodities; and, they’re usually purchased from small or family-run businesses.

“It's been the premise of our company since the get-go to establish roots locally, celebrate the rich culture and resources of Southern Louisiana, and promote high quality shopping alternatives,” said Dunn.

     

(from left to right: a burlap zip clutch, a mini flap pack, and a nutria fur purse from tchoupindustries.com)

She noted that their products contain a lower carbon footprint because less ground (or ocean) is covered for shipping, and because local production is less likely to pollute the environment. 

“There are lots of local goods being made in Louisiana … As a small company, a feature like this helps spread the word in such a positive way,” she said. “We hope that when people come to our (web)site, they fall in love with our bags and get acquainted with other Louisiana makers through our journal entries, and partnership collaborations.”

By Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur, Biz New Orleans associate news editor

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