ANGOLA, N.Y. -- Products sold by the New York State Department of Economic Development have some people wondering, do the sale of the items actually help the local economy?
It turns out, items that carry the popular "I love New York" logo are contracted by the state government but made in foreign counties.
The logo, according to products it’s printed on, is the service trademark of New York State.
And even though the logo is supposed to promote New York, the products are not made in New York nor the United States.
Mark Andol, owner of the Made In America store, takes issue with that. “I feel all the New York State products should be made in New York or the U.S. I believe in 50/50 fair trade,” he said. “That’s what the Made In America store is about: people who work with their hands, saving jobs and saving livelihoods."
The Made In America Store sells items very similar to the ones printed with the “I Love New York” logo. Andol is certain that among the 500 U.S. businesses whose products he sells, one or more of them could make the same things. "It's kind of sad that they don't take the pride to search local and made in America because it’s absolutely possible. We are absolutely proof that it can be done,” Andol said.
The State Department of Economic Development replied to our inquiry about this, writing by e-mail, "We encourage but do not require NYS sourced merchandise because the licensee is best qualified to make their own business decisions."
Basically, state government contracts the companies, but the companies themselves can source the work however they want. At the Angola Service Area gift stop off the Thruway, 2 On Your Side found “I Love NY” products made in China and Haiti.
"I don't like it. I manufacture, and I lost half my business to overseas competition,” Andol said.
The state response goes on to say, "As of 2015, nearly half the licensees in the I LOVE NEW YORK licensing program were based in New York State."
But again, the sourcing indicates the work itself is done elsewhere.
WHEC-TV first did this story and found the same kinds of items at the Scottsville Thruway rest stop in Monroe County.
These products are sold all over the state.