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June 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM

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Coffee mugs indivisible with American jobs

Lift a mug to Starbucks -- an Indivisible mug, that is. One made in the U.S.A., and on sale at Starbucks Tuesday.

For 12 people in East Liverpool, Ohio, those mugs represent a double espresso shot in their employment status. The maker of the mugs, American Mug and Stein, teetered on the brink of closing last fall before Ulrich Honighausen called, asking about having the mugs made in America.

Honighausen owns Hausenware, a tableware company near Santa Rosa, Calif., and says he was inspired by an interview he heard last year with Howard Schultz. The CEO of Starbucks called on business leaders to start doing something to address the country's woes.

Twelve jobs may not sound like much, but as Honighausen says, "You have to start somewhere"

East Liverpool used to be the pottery capital of the nation, making fine china, dinnerware for all the Playboy clubs and even chamber pots back in the day. Foreign competition and economic collapse shattered the industry except for a few hanger-ons like American Mug.

Now labor costs are down in America and not everything made elsewhere has come up to American standards. Plus, the shipping time and cost will be reduced for Starbucks.

Starbucks has other plans to create jobs at home, and some other companies are following suit.

What's the next step? Buy American.

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