In 1942, Gary Murphy received a wood wagon for his birthday. Not only did the toy last throughout his childhood, it was passed down to his children and grandchildren. Now 72, Murphy wanted others to enjoy a durable toy, too. So he started building and selling wooden wagons from his North Carolina home. Last year, Murphy heard that Meijer, Grand Rapids, Mich., was hosting a contest to find “the best undiscovered American-made toys for your children.” Confident his wagon ...

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