BY STEPHANIE KOHL firstname.lastname@example.org April 11, 2012 5:38PM
Barrington Hills resident Deborah Leydig has been a fashion designer, graphic designer and professional actress and now is getting ready to celebrate the fifth anniversary of her latest endeavor, Norton’s U.S.A. in Barrington.
In June 2007, Leydig opened Norton’s, a Uniquely American General Store, and began stocking it with only American-made products.
“I came to realize more consumer goods than I ever realized had been off-shored to China and other places,” she said.
So Leydig began researching and keeping a list of American made items. When the barn where the store is now located, 400 Lageschulte St., went up for sale, Leydig knew it was time to open her store.
She opened her store with 12-20 companies she was able to get product from and now gets products from more than 400 companies. She finds her American made products with lots of computer research and attending trade shows where she just asks people if their products are American made.
“I just persevere, persevere,” Leydig said. “I’m not one to give up.”
American made products are a passion for Leydig for a couple of reasons. One of the main reasons is that so much of the strength of a country is what they produce.
She thinks more items could be made here and there is a demand for such products. Leydig said when products are made in the U.S., it employs those who live here, putting money in their pockets, which they can then in turn spend in their local community.
“Shop local. Shop small. Shop to help your friends or neighbors,” Leydig said.
The products Leydig offers are high quality, well-made and locally made products meant to last, though she said aside from clothing, which is a bit more expensive, the items are comparatively priced to similar items made outside the U.S.
Over the past five years, the biggest change Leydig has made is having to hire more people. She went from her and her niece to one full-time, three part-time and two part-time high school employees, plus her covering the store. She has also gone from being open four days every week to five a week and six days a week during the holidays. In September 2010, she launched a website where people from all over can purchase from her store.
Leydig said while she has a huge local base, she gets customers from all over and often refers the out-of-towners to other stores to visit and restaurants in town to eat at and advises them on upcoming events.
“I love my store,” she said. “I love all my customers. I’ve met so many great people. We share in each others joys and sorrows. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
To celebrate the store’s anniversary, during the week of June 12-16, a different department will be on sale every week and a different raffle will be held every day. On June 14, Leydig will hold a Bingo night and on June 16, a movie night, featuring Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid.”
Norton’s U.S.A. can be found online at www.nortonsusa.com.