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Valley businesses weigh in on Olympic team controversy

Friday, July 13, 2012

Outrage over the U.S. Olympic team's attire has trickled down from Capitol Hill to here in the Valley.

Day in and day out, employees at U.S. Dyeable Apparel Company are hard at work cutting, sewing and screen printing clothing and other accessories at their Fresno factory.

So when the news broke that team U.S.A. will be wearing duds made in China, well, the local family business had some strong opinions.

"It doesn't matter if we make it or someone else makes it, it should be made here. It's just wrong and it really kind of upsets me that it happens and we're losing every day to China." Monica Richey, apparel manufacturer manager.

"To me it's a big deal because that's my life is making American-made goods, but I think there is a lot of people that just go after the dollar," said Larry Richey, apparel manufacturer owner.

The Richey family says they are proud to manufacture American products here in the Valley, but experts say that can be expensive.

"It's just ironic to me. I'm sure that on the shelves here in Wal-Mart and in the Valley is cotton that has been shipped across the ocean, spun, woven , cut, dyed, sewed printed and shipped back here because of the cost here," said Paul Bettencourt, farmer and economist.

Bettencourt says regulatory costs make it difficult for local manufacturers.

Meanwhile, Congressman Devin Nunes says he believes it would have been better if the Olympic outfits were made in America.

"It's not something that I like or something that we wish for, but it's something that's taking place as the world becomes a faster moving place and more globalization occurs," said Rep. Devin Nunes (R - Tulare).

While the hype continues over the American brand, Richey says he hopes others take time to think about the American way.

"They just need to pull the extra dime out of their pocket, because we are very competitive in the United States. I mean we work really hard at what we do. The American public has to make a decision to say, you know I want to bring it back here. I want to bring it back here," Richey said about keeping jobs and manufacturing in the U.S.A.

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Tags:
olympic games, fresno, fresno county, local, amanda venegas
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