When Rita Christian was a little girl, her father was such a proponent of American-made products that she remembers him checking labels on items before he bought them. Her dad was the product of a different era, but the more Christian thinks about it, the more she thinks he had the right idea.
"With the economy the way it is, we've got to get back to that," she said.
Christian is part of a growing number of Americans seeking out furniture and other home products made in the United States. She and her husband, Chip, worked with Chestnut Hall Furniture & Interiors to find American-made items to furnish their house in Memphis.
Chestnut Hall owner Michael Baty has included in his store a "Made in America" room, a space filled entirely with U.S.-made case goods and upholstery. He said his shop has worked to cultivate relationships with American furniture-makers in part because he's seen growing demand for U.S.-made items, but also because he thinks it's the right thing to do.
"Given what's happening with the economy, if we can provide things that are made in America that are good for this country, that seems to be the minimum of what we can do as Americans," he said.
Interior designer Valerie Woodend, co-owner of Fresh Perspective, in Memphis, said her shop's clients seek not just furniture, but also art and accessories that are American-made. "I see a huge trend with supporting local artisans and small, local businesses," she said.
For the Christians, their desire to buy American-made products goes deeper than supporting the local economy.
"My husband and I are both very patriotic people," Christian said. "We have several generations of family members that have served in the armed services, and we've even lost family members in the armed services."
In her view, Christian said, buying U.S.-made furniture is a way to support the nation's economy in a time of crisis.
"We're now in an economic war for survival," she said. "Internally, we've escalated the debt crisis, and externally, we have other nations, particularly China, that threaten to take us over financially without even firing a shot. Our ancestors allowed us the freedom we have, and now I feel like we're almost letting it go. We just want to do our part."