On Oct. 29, Mary Ann Patton became a patriotic proprietor in Putnam County, opening the doors of Homegrown American-Made Products in Hurricane.
Within the shop, visitors can choose from an all-American array of U.S.A.-manufactured products, such as Fiestaware, Cinda B purses, toys, clothing, home décor items, a line of pet clothing and supplies, luggage and much more.
"This concept has been an idea of mine for many years, ever since my children were small and I had concerns about using foreign products that might be unsafe," Patton, of South Charleston, said. "I started to search for American-made products, such as toys, and kitchen items that were safe to cook with and eat from.
"Eventually, I also became disturbed about the continued loss of American manufacturing jobs.
"About one-and-a-half years ago, I got really serious about my idea and started doing research. When my dad informed me that he heard on 'Good Morning America' that someone in New York had started a similar business, I was a little discouraged. But, he encouraged me to continue on with my plan, reminding me this was a big country with plenty of room for one more small business," she said.
"I did the research online and made some contacts. Some made domestic products and some made them in other countries, as well, so I had to sort them out and make sure they were all American-made.
"You can find American-made products here and there or go online for them," she said, "but, as far as I know, we're the only store in the state where everything is made in America."
Patton was a math teacher in Lincoln County for 20 years and currently works as an administrator with Boone County Schools. Her parents and son assist her at Homegrown American-Made Products, which ties in nicely with the family-oriented environment she wants her business to represent.
A friend helps out at the store during the day, too, she said.
Patton said a grand opening event for Homegrown American-Made Products is in the works and a Christmas open house is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1. Many items will be sale priced during the open house, and prizes will be given away during the celebration.
Patton plans to have an online store version of Homegrown American-Made Products operating in 2013.
As her business grows, she said, she intends to dedicate a portion of her profits toward community causes, particularly those that help troubled teenagers.
"That's something that's near to me as an administrator, a teacher and a mom."
Her plans also include eventually providing her customers products manufactured from all 50 states.
She has one major American dream of her own, too.
"I'm hoping to be as big as Walmart one day," Patton said.
Homegrown American-Made Products is located at 3999 Teays Valley Road, Suite 3, in Hurricane. Business hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The telephone number is 304-760-8746, and there's a business page viewable on Facebook.