Kerry McCoy stands in Arkansas Flag and Banner in Little Rock.
A Little Rock-based flag business said sales have increased 50 percent in part because of increased demand for the Confederate flag after other retailers stopped selling it.
Arkansas Flag and Banner, which is located on West 9th Street in downtown Little Rock and also operates an online store, said in a statement Tuesday that overall sales — including the Confederate flag and other products — were up 50 percent in June and July. New customers were up 63 percent.
“The day [Wal-Mart] and Amazon discontinued the sale of confederate flags, my internet business exploded with orders from all across the country,” owner Kerry McCoy wrote in the statement.
McCoy estimated the business sold some 2,000 Confederate flags during the stretch, up from maybe 50 it typically sells in a year’s time. She said that flag was the best-seller for the period, though higher sales on non-Confederate affiliated, more expensive products actually generated more revenue.
The business also added two new employees during the stretch, bringing its total staff to 22.
McCoy defended her decision to sell the flag even as other retailers stripped it from shelves, saying it’s a freedom-of-speech issue for a business that specializes in flags.
“When your core business is selling flags, you can’t stop selling flags to any group of Americans,” McCoy said. “Because it’s your core business … I don’t fly the Confederate flag; I don’t have any intention of flying the Confederate flag. But that doesn’t mean I’m into censorship. I’m in the business of selling flags.”
McCoy likened it to the gay pride flag, which she said some religious groups have asked her to stop selling. She said she has declined to do so.
“That’s just the business of the flag business,” McCoy said.
The recent ballyhoo of the Confederate battle flag has sparked increased sales at Arkansas’ FlagandBanner.com from not just the south, but all across the country and even Canada.
“The day WalMart and Amazon discontinued the sale of confederate flags, my internet business exploded with orders from all across the country,” AFB owner Kerry McCoy said.
WalMart discontinued the sale of Confederate flag merchandise on June 23, 2015 and was soon followed by Amazon, Sears, eBay and other online retailers. This action prompted major flag manufacturing companies such as Annin Flags to discontinued the distribution of Confederate products. This left smaller retailers scrambling to fill consumer demands.
To date, Arkansas’ FlagandBanner.com has seen a 50% increase in sales in June and July and a 63% increase in new customers. This increase in business has resulted in the creation of two new job positions within the company, which is a 10% job creation growth to a 22 person small business.
AFB sees the interest in confederate flags waning, but believes patriotism from its customers will remain high in the consumption of other patriotic and historical products.
To date, AFB has filled most Confederate merchandise backorders and expects to have all completed by month’s end.
When asked about the selling of the confederate battle flag, McCoy said, “I am not in the business of censorship for any segment of Americans. You can buy any historical flag, a gay pride flag, a Native American flag, a religious flag, a democrat and/or a republican flag from me. I represent ALL Americans. The innate right to freedom of speech is one of the things that makes our country great.”
On November 6th, the Dreamland Ballroom will host its 6th Annual Dancing into Dreamland dance competition and fundraiser. The annual fundraiser is to generate funds for improvements and renovations to the historic 99-year-old building located at 800 West Ninth Street.
The current fundraising campaign (carried over from last year) is to raise funds to make Taborian Hall accessible to all by installing an elevator which would be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. The non-profit group, The Friends of Dreamland needs more than $700,000 to achieve their goal to have an addition and elevator added to the almost century old historic site.
This year’s fundraiser will begin at 7 pm and last until 10 pm. Celebrity judges will choose the overall winner of the dance competition while guests will vote for their favorite dancers to receive the People’s Choice Award by text voting.
A silent auction with more than $20,000 in auction items will be up for grabs during the event. Guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres along with drinks and an hour long free dance will be open for any and all guests to cut a rug.
Dreamland Ballroom is housed on the third floor of Taborian Hall built in 1916. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and hosted such musical legends as Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong. Louis Jordan, Redd Foxx and a host of other legendary artists throughout the years.
In the 1970s through the 1980s the building fell into disrepair and was rescued in 1991 by Arkansas’ FlagandBanner.com’s owner Kerry McCoy. The Friends of Dreamland non-profit was formed in 2009 and has been working to save and restore this piece of Little Rock’s cultural history ever since.
The Friends of Dreamland invite the public to attend; general admission tickets are available for $69 each or guests can purchase the private balcony or one of two box seating areas or entire tables right on the dance floor. Guests can order tickets online at http://www.dreamlandballroom.com/did2015.html. Sponsorship opportunities are available as well. Contact the Friends of Dreamland at 501.255.5700 to learn more about sponsorship opportunities. Dress in party attire the night of the event.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Friday, November 6 at 800 West 9th Street, Little Rock, Ark. Entrances are on the State Street side of the building.
The Friends of Dreamland is a 501(c)(3) corporation. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Visit http://www.dreamlandballroom.org or call 501.255.5700 for details.
The United States flag flies high above the Irish flags raised for Irish Fest atop the Black’s building in downtown Waterloo.
This great hometown flag story is from Waterloo, Iowa. Love seeing flags in the news like this: http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/irish-flags-surround-old-glory-on-black-s-building-for/article_c865b4d0-2568-57db-9546-f77a3b08c59e.html
WATERLOO | Donna Nelson has figured out a way to “get her Irish up” on the Black’s Building for this weekend’s Iowa Irish Fest without, she hopes, offending anyone.
Nelson unintentionally stirred controversy last year when she replaced the U.S. flag on the eight-story downtown landmark with an Irish flag for the annual festival.
This year, 24 Irish flags are evenly spaced around the roof’s edge. The larger American flag still waves high above them.
“We decided to use (Irish) flags all the way around,” said Nelson, of Nelson Properties, which owns the Black’s Building. The Irish flags went up Monday. Nelson said she wasn’t sure of the results — until she received a phone call from City Hall.
“The mayor called the first thing and said they look fantastic,” Nelson said. Mayor Buck Clark said he could see them from his office window.
Last year, some downtown business owners, veterans and others objected when Nelson replaced the U.S. flag atop the building with a large Irish Republic tricolor.
They took exception to replacing the American flag with that of another country. Some threatened to boycott the festival.
Nelson said it was not her intention to be unpatriotic. She only meant to celebrate Irish Fest and honor Irish immigrant James Black, who built the building 100 years ago for his namesake department store.
She kept the Irish flag atop the building for the balance of last year’s Irish Fest but promised to restore Old Glory there permanently and find an alternative solution. Staff installed smaller flag poles on secure bases that will hold up on the roof in the wind.
Nelson still has the large Irish flag that flew over the building last year, but hasn’t yet determined a use for it. Flag etiquette required a separate pole for the Irish flag, but she said an identical pole would have been too expensive.
Meanwhile, other downtown venues are getting ready for Iowa Irish Fest, which runs Friday through Sunday. For those wishing to see a larger version of the Irish tricolor up close and personal, one is flying atop the lower Lincoln Park building at East Fourth and Mulberry streets, adjacent to most of the Irish Fest events, which begin with a 4 p.m. Friday parade downtown.
A full schedule of events is available online at iowairishfest.com.
KTLA Los Angeles Morning Show asked us to be a part of their Bastille Day segment on July 14, 2015. We were glad to donate flag pennants and a pole hem French flag for a re-enactor to wave during the segment. Viva la France!
Building a successful business from the ground up is hard work, but spend an hour with Kerry McCoy, founder, owner and president of Arkansas Flag and Banner, and you will know that she has what it takes.
Photo used with permission of Arkansas Flagandbanner.com. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Benjamin Krain – 2/10/15
Kerry McCoy is a touch spunky, a touch crass and a touch energetic. With a whole lot of passion and a great business sense; McCoy has taken what began as a door-to-door sales business and built it into a multimillion-dollar company known around the country.
Arkansas Flag and Banner is not just a retailer of flags but is a full-service shop as well. They can create custom flags and banners and are also equipped to make repairs to your flags as needed. Arkansas Flag and Banner has some “big” customers like McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and even Disney, yet they pride themselves on giving all customers five-star treatment. When you call Arkansas Flag and Banner, you will speak to a real person six days a week during business hours. When you purchase a flag, you will be contacted twice a year to ensure that your flag is in top-notch condition. If your flag needs repairs, they will arrange that for you. If the flag is beyond repair, they will properly retire the flag for you and provide you with a coupon toward the purchase of a new flag.
Margarita Estrada has been an Arkansas Flag and Banner employee for nearly 10 years. Margarita hand sews custom flags and banners and makes repairs to American flags.
One of the most beautiful things about Arkansas Flag and Banner is the building in which it is located. The historic Taborian Hall (Temple) was built in 1916 and not only contains the showroom, employee offices, the shipping and receiving department and the sewing room, but also has a rich history hidden within itself.
The Taborian Hall was home to the Negro Soldiers Club and sits on “The Line,” which was the boundary between Little Rock’s black and white societies. The building also housed a pharmacy and soda shop, doctors and lawyer’s offices, and the Dreamland Grill which later became known as the Dreamland Ballroom. The building cost more than $1 Million dollars to build in 1916. It was financed by the black community and constructed by Simeon Johnson, a local black contractor. Taborian Hall was one of the most prestigious buildings in Little Rock and was the pride and joy of the black community.
The building, built by the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a philanthropic black fraternity that provided insurance for the black community and most notably, black widows and orphans. The fraternity would collect a small payment from the families and in return would provide widows and children with food and shelter in the event that the husband/father died. The current American welfare system was modeled after this effort.
Taborian Hall’s heyday was from the 1930s through the late 1960s when it housed three nightclubs – most notably the Dreamland Ballroom. The Dreamland Ballroom housed dances and drew notable performs such as B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Redd Foxx, Ray Charles and Sammy Davis Jr.
In the 1970s, following desegregation, black businesses began to move off “The Line”. People began to take their business elsewhere and shop in less expensive stores around the city. Booming West Ninth Street began to bust; buildings were abandoned or fell into severe disrepair.
Used with permission of Arkansas FlagandBanner.com.
In 1991, Kerry McCoy fell in love with the exterior of the building and took a huge leap of faith by purchasing the dilapidated, abandoned building for a mere $20,000. She embarked on an $180,000 renovation project that enabled them to repair the mostly missing roof and make the first floor habitable.
Used with permission of Arkansas FlagandBanner.com.
As Arkansas Flag and Banner has grown, so too has the Taborian Hall. Booming business following 9/11 paved the way for the McCoys to begin renovating the second floor. They moved all of their offices to the second floor and opened the beautiful showroom on the first floor. The showroom is open to the public.
In 2009, a nonprofit group, Friends of Dreamland, was established to bring the Dreamland Ballroom back to all its glory. Restoration efforts continue, but the ballroom is available for private functions. Arkansas Flag and Banner hosts several events in the Ballroom each year to help with fundraising and to educate the public on this American treasure. The Dreamland Ballroom is one of very few original ballrooms in America.
Arkansas Flag and Banner Headquarters is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 800 W 9th St, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201. The Dreamland Ballroom is available for private tours by appointment only. You can keep up with the Dreamland Ballroom progress via their Facebook page.
Arkansas Women Blogger’s Calendar Cultivator and memberJulie Kohl writes about her adventures with food, recipes, crafts and creativity on her blog Eggs and Herbs. As former Yankee who was “converted” to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you’ll-miss-it town in east central Arkansas. She raises chickens, horses, and English mastiffs and spends her summers off from teaching art growing an herb garden and crafting all kinds of delicious recipes.
I want to thank the NAACP and Julius for coming out and exercising their First Amendment rights, just like I am. 40 years ago, I started my business on $400 and have lived the American dream. Today I continue to live that dream by selling flags and other patriotic items. Due to this morning’s Supreme Court ruling, I feel sure the gay pride flag will take the forefront in our sales. Such is the flag business.
To say that I am supporting racism is incorrect. I have given back to my community and black history by restoring a 20th century historically significant African American building on 9th Street in Little Rock AR. At my expense, I have co-published a book with UALR (University of Arkansas at Little Rock) about its heritage, and through my efforts a 2 hour AETN documentary is soon to be released. Without me this piece of history would have been torn down 20 years ago.
Like all retailers I know not what is in the hearts of any of my customers when they buy from me. Are they going to burn the American flag or fly it.
Like everyone in America I am deeply disturbed by the South Carolina events. Let us focus on the bigger picture, race relations. Who taught this kid to hate and why did he get a gun.