Words by Corrie Park, Owner
When Corrie Park and her family moved to local-friendly Staunton, Virginia, they saw a need in the historic downtown district – and they wasted no time in fulfilling it. Now the owners of Made; By the People, For the People, Park and her husband, Lex, work everyday (except for holidays) to bring American-made goods to the community, and they have fun while doing it.
“As an artist myself, I knew that Staunton needed a store downtown that was as eclectic as many of the vibrant people in the community,” Park says. “We also knew that we wanted to focus on clothing and locally made artisan goods.”
Thanks to some help from the Staunton Creative Community Fund, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs in the area start their businesses, inspiration from family members, and Corrie’s passion for art, American history and public policy, the Parks opened Made; last summer. The store primarily sells American-made products ranging from clothing to candles to scarves knitted right in Staunton and offers all the charm and charisma of an old-fashioned general store.
Through Made; Park hopes to change the way that people see American-made goods and local businesses. “Only two percent of clothing sold in the U.S. today is actually manufactured here. To make matters worse, many of the clothing lines that are made here come with cringe-inducing price tags that are simply out of reach for the vast majority of American consumers,” she says. “We want to keep it simple, keep it local, and have fun doing it.”
In the spirit of creating change in the community, Park and her husband close their store during the holidays, including Black Friday and Christmas Eve, and they choose not to sell their products online. “While we are obviously in business to make a profit, we strongly feel that mass consumerism has gotten out of hand,” she says.
Through the store and their personal lives, the Park family embodies what it means to buy local. While building Made; they relied on a local hardware store, a local painter, and local electricians for all of their renovation needs. Since moving to Staunton, the Parks have become regulars at local restaurants, breweries, and bookstores. “One of the many great things about Staunton is that it’s very easy to support local here,” Park says.
With Made; Park supports local – and the country – through and through. By stocking the shelves almost entirely with locally and American-made goods, her store is on its way to changing consumers’ habits and preferences in the local community.