I don't play myself (but am not bad on Guitar Hero ), but I bought my 15 yr old daughter an Epiphone AJ-200 acoustic for Christmas to complement her 2 Epiphone SG electrics (a 6 string and a bass). I'll but her the equipment, because I'm counting on her for my retirement!
Epiphone does makes some of their lower end guitars overseas, but some are made in the US as well. Epiphone has been around since the late 1800's and Gibson bought them in the 50's. Even the guitars made in China are made to Gibson specs.
I agree with keeping it out in the open. A guitar in a case in a closet is the epitome of "out of sight, out of mind".
Good luck and fun with it Nighthawk!!!