The National Park Service (NPS) has supported the sale of American-made products in its concession retail shops for many years. All new concession contracts have specific language encouraging the sale of these items, and concessioner evaluations include a review of concessioner performance against these goals. Federal regulations provide concessioners financial incentives to sell authentic native handicrafts. Bids for retail services often include questions regarding how prospective offerors will promote the sale of these items. The NPS reinforced this position in a policy statement to the field indicating that to contribute to our nation’s economy the NPS should continue to encourage the sale of American-made products in concession stores.
National Park Hospitality Association
Our concessioners have responded well to these requests, stocking American-made merchandise, labeling products, and even devoting entire sections to “Made in America” products. Concessioners are also actively working together to help expand offerings. For example, the National Park Hospitality Association (NPHA) established a Retail Operations Task Force to share information and tools among concessioners, such as a collaboratively developed database of American-made vendors.
While concessioners strive to stock American-made merchandise, they face challenges finding American-made products at price points amenable to visitors. In some cases, products that park visitors want are simply no longer manufactured domestically. To overcome these issues, it is common practice for concessioners to purchase products from a wide network of American-owned wholesale suppliers that provide finishing services to personalize park gift items such as:
- Silk screen artwork
Although the point-of-origin for many of these products is foreign, they are finished in the United States and contribute to the U.S. economy.
In 2008, the NPHA conducted a review of concessioner products, which showed that 39% of merchandise sold was made in the United Sates, 31% was finished in the United States, and only 30% was imported. These numbers have only improved as our concessioners continue to meet the challenge of selling and promoting American-made merchandise, while also providing the selection of merchandise our park visitor’s desire at a reasonable cost. Some examples of success stories from across the NPS are provided below.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts
In response to visitor comments, Xanterra Parks & Resorts retrofitted a section of the gift shop at Mount Rushmore National Memorial to feature “Made in USA” items. The retrofit included adding a large sign to draw visitors to that area. The photos below show the gift shop before and after the retrofit.