March 10, 2011 -- Consumers are clamoring for a Hamilton bedroom set and Doug Bassett is thrilled.
His furniture company, Vaughan-Bassett, lent the six-piece wood bedroom suite to the "Made in America" series Feb. 24, in which the Usry family of Dallas agreed to empty their master bedroom, living room and kitchen of any products that were imported, and replace them with goods made in America.
The Vaughan-Bassett set retailed for less than the Usrys' imported furniture, which Bassett, the manufacturer's executive vice president, said seemed to surprise many Americans.
"We stood out," he said, because of the furniture's price -- $1,699 -- and its better value.
So far, there have been 30 confirmed sales of the Hamilton set since the "World News" story aired, Bassett said. That's despite "World News" not mentioning the name of the company on air.
Bassett said that consumers found the wood furniture producer after searching on ABCNews.com.
Vaughan-Bassett: 1,600 Percent Increase in Contacts
Family-run since 1919, the Galax, Va., company says that 99 percent of its line is made in the United States. It does not have any stores and sells to 3,000 different dealers.
"We normally get 20 contacts a day from consumers" to sales representatives, Bassett said. "The Friday after the show aired, we received 300 consumer contacts interested in furniture."
Vaughan-Bassett is going an extra step to make sure it doesn't lose any sales.
Consumers who purchase from the company because of the "World News" feature get a thank you note and dealers who complete the sale can enter a raffle to win two nights in a U.S. hotel.
"We give credit to the national coverage [from 'World News']," Bassett said. "Business has improved noticeably. There have been more orders in the last two weeks than in any two weeks during the last six months."
Expansion for L.J. Gascho
L.J. Gascho's business is booming.
The furniture company offered its Anniversary collection dining table and Laker chairs to the "Made in America" series.
Brandon Yowler, L.J. Gascho's national sales and marketing manager, said the company's website saw a 600 percent increase in hits after its name was posted on the ABC News webpage.
"People want catalogs. They want to know where to buy our products," Yowler said.
L.J. Gascho, which sells directly to retail stores, recently sealed a deal with Levin Furniture of western Pennsylvania and Ohio. Yowler said both companies had been working out a deal for a year, but that after the "Made in America" series aired, Levin started putting in orders.
Now L.J. Gascho is being sold in 13 Levin stores.
The company's staff has gone from 35 employees to 60 because of the volume of calls.
"We had a guy call from Indiana to say he loved our product," Yowler said. "He's now working the territory [of Indiana and Kentucky] to meet with buyers and show them our product."
'Made in America': CarolinaChair.com
Cathy Fry said she was devastated when her North Carolina company CarolinaChair.com did not make the cut for the "Made in America" series.
"We did have a couple of pieces but unfortunately the colors were not right," the co-owner said.
CarolinaChair.com was added to the "Made in America" webpage and then to Fry's surprise, ABC News wrote a story Feb. 23 about her family and published it online.
"From that day, we saw an increase," she said. "People were coming to the website and sending e-mail inquiries."
Fry said the company, a direct-to-consumer custom furniture manufacturer that takes orders online and by phone, has seen a triple increase in e-mail inquiries, phone calls and swatch requests.
'World News' Put the Tools Out There
"Bottom line is that we think what ABC has done is brought national attention to an issue that needed some focus here in the U.S.," she said. "People don't realize how many imports they have in their homes. It's so hard to know where to go to buy made in America. ['World News'] put the tools out there that are easy for people."
L.J. Gascho's Yowler thanked "World News" for giving his company a boost in the furniture business.
"Representatives need selling tools [when meeting buyers]," he said. "The recognition and the publicity gives us the tools we need."