11/16/2009 - For Immediate Release

Give More Than Just This Year's "Top Ten"
Part III

Maple Landmark creates classic, natural, heirloom wooden toys to last a lifetime.

Middlebury, VT—As the corporate toy stores are releasing their list of the "Top Ten Toys for 2009", Maple Landmark continues to make classic wooden toys that have true staying power, are better for the environment, the American economy and most importantly the child.

Most, if not all, of the anointed "top ten" toys for 2009 are available at chain or mass market stores, some even exclusively, but in these tough economic times, Americans need a better way to think about our economy, both locally and nationally.

It is commonly held that if a consumer spends $1.00 locally, that dollar will actually pass through 5 hands before it leaves the community. For example, the local merchant takes your dollar and uses it to pay their clerk (spent once). The clerk then takes the dollar bill (now spent twice) and pays the sitter. The sitter takes the, now spent three times, dollar and uses it to pay for a haircut. The hairdresser takes the bill and pays for groceries (spent four times). The grocer uses that bill to pay for produce from other state and the bill leaves the community after being spent five times—creating $6 worth of value.

This extra created value is what helps retail businesses decide they can hire more people and American manufacturers expand their work force or create more or different products, putting money right back into the hands of American workers.

And it is also commonly held that only $.20 of that same dollar spent at a "big box" store stays in the community to be spent an average of five times, creating only $1.20 worth of value. Local value is created but at a much lesser pace. So how does a small wooden toy company in Vermont play into these scenarios?

"Pretty easily actually," comments Mike Rainville, founder and owner of Maple Landmark. "And we fit in on two fronts. First we buy local ourselves. The majority of our raw materials are sourced here in Vermont and what we can't buy here we purchase within the Northeast. This keeps the money going around here in the States. Secondly, we sell to specialty stores giving them a chance to keep their money local. Buying a toy, similar to ours, at a chain toy store moves money (80% of every dollar) to overseas manufacturers fairly quickly. Not creating jobs or growth opportunities here in the US."

While Rainville understands that not everything can be purchased "locally" he does believe that a little effort on both consumers and manufacturers will make a difference in the volatility of our own economy. "Individuals make their own buying decisions—whether it is a car or wooden toys—our job is to give the customer what they want so they can buy local. Unlike an employee parking lot at GM that is filled with Hondas, Toyotas or Kias."

Meeting the consumer demand, Maple Landmark manufactures over 1,000 products and making many product adjustments for the consumer, in the last 30 years. Jill Stackhouse, Sales Manager, said "after the recalls and the lead scares from products made overseas, consumers wanted something they could count on, we listened and created our Schoolhouse Naturals line. Schoolhouse Naturals are designed for children under 3 and are made from sustainably harvested hardwood maple and have no finish. This line is our fastest growing line. With Schoolhouse Naturals not only do consumers get what they want but they can shop locally, too."

To learn more about the products that Maple Landmark offers, visit the website at www.maplelandmark.com

Contact: Barbara Rainville • 800-421-4223
Images available for download, please contact us.

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