Interviews and speaking
Need a guest speaker at an upcoming conference or meeting or for a radio or TV program? Let authors Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg talk about the best factory tours and company museums in the country, why they are the best vacation value, and the benefits to your company of developing a tour program to connect with your customers and increase their loyalty.
Bruce Brumberg and Karen Axelrod traveled across the U.S.A. to "kick the tires of the American economy." This husband and wife team journeyed from the massive Boeing 747 plant in Everett, Washington, to the ranch-like factory of Jardine’s Texas Foods in Buda, Texas. During their travels, Bruce earned an "Official Pretzel Twister" certificate, while Karen was awarded an "Honorary Brewmaster" title and "Official Candymaker’s Diploma." Fascinated by how things are made and companies grow, they visit factories for fun, business ideas, and free samples.
Bruce Brumberg graduated from the University of Michigan (Phi Beta Kappa) and the University of Virginia School of Law. He owns Brumberg Publications, a legal and financial publishing company that develops and publishes newsletters, books, and videos. He is also the editor-in-chief of myStockOptions.com, the premier source of content and tools on employee stock compensation. Karen Axelrod studied economics at Brandeis University. Before writing this book, Karen was a buyer for 10 years for major retail and catalog companies. When not traveling, Karen, originally from New York City, and Bruce, who grew up outside of Philadelphia, PA, reside near Boston, MA.
Reviews and Reactions
Read the Boston Herald's article, or the press release about Watch It Made, 4th edition.
Q & A
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: Have you ever wondered how tea gets into the tea bag or how toothpaste gets into the tube? We did! We wanted to know how milk becomes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, how sheet metal is welded into a shiny new Mercedes or Harley, and how Northern White Ash trees become Louisville Slugger baseball bats. Since no book existed to help us visit these places to answer our questions, we decided to write Watch It Made in the U.S.A.. Along with the first two editions came our two children. They helped us see these tours through their curious eyes and focus on the needs of younger visitors and their parents.
Q: How is this book similar to a golden ticket?
A: Do you remember reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or watching the movie version, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when you were young? As you may remember, Charlie found the special golden ticket in his Wonka bar, which led him on a fascinating journey.
Watch It Made In The U.S.A. is your golden ticket/guide to visiting factory tours and company museums throughout the U.S.A. Whether you're with your family, traveling alone, or on a field or business trip, you'll have fun, discover how well-known products are made, and learn what these companies did to grow and prosper. You'll also receive plenty of free samples and tastes along the way. Enjoy the tours. But don’t stuff yourself with the free samples like the guests did on the tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!
Q: Why are factory tours so great?
A: Factory tours are fun, free, and educational, and they give free samples. Learn some of the manufacturing mysteries of the world, such as how the fortune gets into the fortune cookie and how stripes get onto a candy cane.
Q: Why should I buy this book?
A: Watch It Made in the U.S.A. is the only comprehensive source for factory tours and company museums. The guide includes full-page write-ups for over 300 factory tours and company museums around the U.S.A. An additional 150 sites are listed as nearby attractions. Also included are visiting days and hours, age and group requirements, directions, and other practical information. Itinerary planners help you weave together 2-3 day driving trips based on your interests or destination.
After visiting (in person or vicariously through the vivid descriptions) over 300 companies featured in this book, you’ll marvel at the behind-the-scenes processes involved in producing the products we take for granted. You’ll be proud of the hardworking American people and companies that make our nation great. We like to say that this book gives you the opportunity to go out and "kick the tires" of the American economy. Watch how American companies have proudly regained their competitive edge and are again perceived as the world leaders in many industries.
Q: I'm taking my kids on vacation with me. Are these tours kid-friendly?
A: Yes! Touring company museums and factory tours anywhere in the country is a fun and educational experience for anyone, especially kids. Children will remember the smell of crayons, the taste of freshly baked bread, and the sights and sounds of car- or paper-making machinery. By taking kids on these tours, you can develop their curiosity as well as a sense of pride behind the "Made in the U.S.A." label. Also check out the section with helpful advice for family travelers, teachers, and field-trip leaders.
Q: I’ve heard this book is great for people traveling for business or pleasure. How can Watch It Made help a business traveler?
A: Contrary to popular belief, these tours are not merely a new way to grab a free beer during a business trip to Milwaukee or St. Louis. At its core, Watch It Made in the U.S.A. is a travel guide to American business. Tour-takers receive a business education of their own as they discover a company's products, origins, and growth, and even learn whether it’s a good stock investment.
Q: What are the best factory tours?
A: It depends on your interests. If you’re into craftsmanship, check out Fenton art glass and Martin guitars. If you’re into machines, you will be amazed by the gigantic machines, robots, and welding at automobile plants. If you’re simply going on a skiing, hiking, or climbing vacation in the Rockies, watch how tea gets into the tea bag at Celestial Seasonings Tea in Boulder, Colorado. Just remember that every tour has something for everyone.
Q: Have you really visited all of these factories?
A: Almost. During the past 14 years of research and travel, we have visited over 300 factory tours and company museums. In fact, we are always adding factory visits to our trips—whether we are returning from St. Thomas through Puerto Rico and stopping at the Bacardi Rum Distillery or biking around the Big Island of Hawaii on our wedding anniversary and visiting Mauna Loa macadamia nuts.
Q: How did you choose which companies to include in the book?
A: To compile the list of companies that offer factory tours, company museums, and visitor centers, we followed many paths and traveled thousands of miles. The book focuses on recognized national or regional companies that make familiar products, whether chocolates, cars, clothes, toys, or beer. Each factory tour or company museum either has regular hours or is open to the general public by reservation. But remember to always call before visiting.
Q: Are you available for appearances?
A: Yes. We are fun, lively, and informative in person.
Q: Why is the fourth edition so important?
A: Now, more than ever, is the time to explore and take pride in what makes the U.S.A special. We can no longer take our family, our security or our economy for granted. Along with our people, history, culture, and natural beauty, our economy is the source of our national strength and patriotism. Watch It Made in the U.S.A. will help you appreciate first-hand the products, companies, technology, and workers that inspire our economy. Plus, with concerns about airplane travel, the book offers you a new travel experience close to home.
Q: What’s new in the fourth edition?A:
Q: What are the best free souvenirs you have gotten on tours?
A. While we did get some great souvenirs, unfortunately none of them were keys to an automobile. Seriously, though, some of the best were warm potato chips right from the production line at Herr's Snack Factory and a 16" miniature Louisville Slugger baseball bat.