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Weary of Snarls, Small Businesses Build Their Own Supply Chains

Workers in a sewing factory

What’s more stressful than a nightmare you can’t wake up from? For Ken Rosenblood, it’s watching ships, tiny dots on a radar, stuck at sea, unable to deliver the lifeblood of your company. That’s how he remembers the early days of the pandemic.

His company, obVus Solutions, produces ergonomic office equipment, and his laptop stands were stuck on ships just as demand was swelling for tools to work from home. Unable to get more from his manufacturers in China, he saw his revenue plummet, and his main sales channel, Amazon, stopped ranking his company in searches.

“If you run out of product, you are persona non grata on their algorithm,” Mr. Rosenblood said. “So our business was just destroyed. We had to completely start over.”

So Mr. Rosenblood decided to bring obVus’s production and supply chain back to the United States, a process called reshoring. He bought an old 18,000-square-foot furniture store in Victor, N.Y., and spent $4 million to turn it into a factory. Products started rolling off the line last month.

“I’ve got my plant here, and I’ve got my engineers — we can make the adjustments, and we can control things,” Mr. Rosenblood said. “That gives us speed, and that is a huge advantage over China.”

He is also betting that it will cost the same — if not less — to make his products in the United States. And as he said: “I hate to lose a bet.”

Read the full New York Times article here.

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