Jason Moss has a little game – an unscientific experiment, really – that he likes to share with his audience whenever he gives a speech in front of a gathering of his fellow Georgians.
“I’ll hold up a $100 bill and say, ‘I will give this to the first person who can name three or more products that are made in Georgia,’” Moss said. “Usually, the room goes dead silent.”
And that makes Moss, the founder of the Georgia Manufact-uring Alliance (GMA), sad -- and more than a little mad. See, in Moss’ mind, the sure-fire cure to literally every economic ill in Georgia – and the United States as a whole – is as simple as the click of a mouse or knowing where a product is manufactured.
“It literally hit me when I was sitting in a Walmart parking in 2008,” Moss said. “The economy was crap -- it was when things were really getting bad -- and I was looking around and these people were pushing carts through the parking lot, and all of the carts were full.
“It made me realize that despite the fact [the economy] was so bad, people were continuing to buy stuff. But what we were buying was not supporting the local economy. We were supporting the economies overseas.
“We are a consumer-driven society,” he added, “but every time we went to spend a dollar on something, more times than not we were loading that dollar on a boat and sending it overseas.”
Thanks to Moss’ vision, those boats will hopefully not be laden with so many U.S. dollars. Meaning more of those dollars will be spent right here in Georgia, which, Moss says, is a win-win for Peach State companies and people alike.
Since 2008, the GMA has worked to connect Georgia businesses with each other in an effort to generate valuable business-to-business commerce. And while the GMA has been a certifiable success – 16 people attended his first meeting in 2008; today, there are five chapters and more than 170 member companies -- Moss knew that unless he could connect consumers with GMA members, a large and profitable piece of the puzzle would be missing.
That’s when his second big idea hit.
In August, Moss launched a new web site called buyfromga.com, which is dedicated to providing consumers with both a listing of products produced in Georgia as well as an easy way for them to purchase them. The site is linked into, and powered by, Amazon.com, which serves to give consumers a high-quality shopping experience.
More importantly, Moss said, buyfromga.com educates Georgians on how their dollars can impact companies and families across the entire state.
“Most people don’t have that knowledge and education,” Moss said. “When they’re pushing their buggy down the aisle, they’ve got about three seconds to make a decision. Let’s say they’re in Walmart to buy batteries, and they saw Energizer batteries and Duracell batteries. If they knew that Duracell makes their AAA and 9-volt batteries in Lagrange, Georgia … which batteries would you buy?
“Now, Duracell employs 400 people in its Lagrange plant. That’s 400 Georgia families that Duracell supports. If we can help share that information and help increase the sales of Duracell batteries by 10 percent, on 400 jobs that would be 40 more jobs. And if we took that philosophy and spread it out over a thousand companies and a thousand products, we can be the driving force that makes Georgia the leader in the manufacturing renaissance in the United States.”
The site’s presence on Amazon.com also helps Moss provide valuable data and metrics to Georgia manufacturers.
“Before, there really was no way to quantify the success we have had educating consumers until now,” Moss said. “By building the back end (of the site) on Amazon, it allows us to track results. Now, every time someone goes to buyfromga.com and buys a Duracell battery, through that link we can provide Duracell with that information.”
Buyfromga.com features products in several categories, including automotive, clothing and shoes, food and beverage, gift baskets, health and personal care, home and garden, office supplies and sporting goods. Along with Duracell, other Georgia companies on the site include, among others, Okabashi Shoes, Claxton Bakery, Savannah Bee, Hostess Brands, Wrigley’s Gum, Primo Grills, Clorox, and Bridgestone Golf.
The site, which every month highlights featured products as well as a contest for consumers to win a $100 Amazon gift card, soft launched in August. Moss said a redesign is currently under way that will make it more intuitive and user-friendly when it launches at the end of October.
“There are so many great things we can do to help support each other,” Moss said. “We’ve got to build the awareness, and we’ve got to plant the flag and say we’re going to do this and we’re going to support each other and we’re going to support Georgia jobs.
“It’s simple: It’s easy to do and you’re doing it anyway, so why not buy from Georgia companies and support Georgia families?”