Editor’s note: This article was written by Colin Balfe, director of The Marketplace by TheBlaze, and is part of a series of stories highlighting businesses in TheBlaze’s eCommerce channel.

Be sure to read parts one, two and three and stay tuned for part five.

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The Marketplace by TheBlaze is assembling the world’s finest collection of unique small businesses. We don’t just look for quality products; we look for quality people—entrepreneurs who are living their own version of the American Dream. It is their work ethic, integrity and passion driving them to create exceptional products while tirelessly working to earn your trust. In this five-part series, we’re featuring the amazing people behind some of these small businesses, while providing products that are made 100 percent in the USA.

Nebraska Star Beef

In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 4 of 5)Amid the wide-open, grassy plains of America’s heartland is a place where the ongoing balance between man and nature continues. It’s in this vast expanse of lush prairie fields that the cattle of Nebraska Star Beef wander and graze. This is where the company’s lifelong quality begins—quality that continues all the way from the fields to your dinner plate.

As a family-owned and operated business, Nebraska Star Beef has been dedicated to producing the best quality beef since its beginnings. In the beef industry, cattle are the literal lifeblood of the business.

Dan Klute, the owner of Nebraska Star Beef, realizes his isn’t the only beef company and certainly not the largest. But that doesn’t change his positive outlook.

“Really, it’s very hard to compare what we do to anyone else.” Dan says. “We’re not doing something that others in the beef industry couldn’t do … I just believe that we do it better.”

Living up to that standard of quality, Nebraska Star Beef cattle are fed 30 to 45 days longer than other producers, resulting in bigger cows and producing meat that is extra tender with superior marbling. Plus, they age all of their cuts for 35 days, which creates more tender, juicier steak.

Instead of using hormones, steroids and antibiotics, Nebraska Star Beef takes good care of its cattle while living by the mantra, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” No shortcuts are taken in breeding, raising, feeding or shipping. Nebraska Star Beef employees strive to create products to feed their own families so their customers can rest assured while serving theirs.

Mrs. Cavanaugh’s

The year was 1964 in Gettysburg, South Dakota, when Mrs. Marie Cavanaugh used a recipe handed down from her aunt to make chocolates to sell for a church fundraiser. As word of her delicious cream centers and chocolate-dipped caramels spread, Mrs. Cavanaugh realized she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand by just making the candies alone in her farmhouse basement.

In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 4 of 5)Her husband George and four children rallied to help. Eventually, in 1972, the family left their beloved cattle ranch and moved to Utah to fill demands for Mrs. Cavanaugh’s homemade sweets. Since these humble beginnings, Mrs. Cavanaugh’s has always been committed to making top-quality chocolates. Now, the second generation of chocolate makers is continuing the tradition.

“We have stuck with our commitment to never compromise—we only use the best ingredients, no preservatives and the best chocolate money can buy!” says Mrs. Cavanaugh’s daughter, Colene, going on to explain that they also made the decision early on to always close their shop doors on Sundays. “It’s more important to be closed and honor God instead of the almighty dollar,” she says.

“American products put food on people’s plate, gas in their cars and cash in their wallets … it keeps our country strong” says Michael Wall, managing director of Mrs. Cavanaugh’s. “People know the quality is better, and they are willing to pay for that quality.”

Paracord Paul

While Paul Pachmayer, otherwise known as “Paracord Paul,” may not have invented the paracord bracelet, his knots are some of the cleverest and most useful designs we’ve seen. Paul and his wife, Judi, now have a small business featured at The Marketplace featuring authentic paracord products.

Paul and Judi maintain a strong passion for their country, which they aren’t afraid to express through their business.

In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 4 of 5)“We are a military family and can’t imagine, for our business, offering anything not made in America,” Judi says. “While we make all our products ourselves, we do our very best to buy American and keep our dollars with businesses who have the same ethics and love of country that we do.”

The Pachmayers make sure their customers never forget that there are still “mom and pop” shops in America that work hard to earn their customers’ trust, take pride in what they make, and treat everyone who comes their way with courtesy and respect.

“Owning a small business means being able to get up every day and do what you love and have a passion for, and at the end of the day looking yourself in the mirror and knowing you’ve done good,” Judi says.

If you haven’t gotten into the paracord craze yet, your kids probably have: It’s not just the cool look that make these bracelets popular—it’s their functionality as well.

A true American accessory, paracord bracelets are made from real parachute string. While simple in appearance, these tiny bracelets can be unraveled to great lengths, hold hundreds of pounds of weight and be used to make slings, build makeshift shelters and more. Bestsellers include the Second Amendment bracelet, American Pride bracelet and the “In God We Trust” bracelet.

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Want to learn more about the American-made shops in The Marketplace? Check out our Made in America section and learn how these small businesses are keeping the country strong.