Eating an Elephant
McCoy taker Taborian Hall one bite at a time
By Linda Caillouet
The Chronicle – Historic Preservation News
Vol. 19, No. 1 – February-March 1992
For the past two years Kerry Thompson-McCoy has watched the weather more closely than ever before.
The reason? A dilapidated old red brick building, sans roof, known as Taborian Hall, that she purchased two years ago for $20,000.
“I drove by there every day thinking, I’ve got to get this started, I’ve got to get going,” the 37-year-old North Little Rock native said. “I’d watch more glass come out of the windows and I’d watch more roof cave in…nobody knew the weather as well as I did.”
The elements took their toll on the historic Ninth Street building. The three-story, circa 1917 building suffered the most damage when the roof caved in during an ice storm two years ago. “It’s in terrible shape. “There’s no structural problems but a lot of interior damage,” McCoy said.
But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. “I saw it on TV and thought, “I’d love to own a building like that,” McCoy recalled.
Taborian Hall, also known as Taborian Temple, was originally building lIttle Rock’s black business district to serve as the home of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a black fraternal organization.
McCoy, the owner of Arkansas’ Flag and Banner, is renovating the building and will relocate her business there.
But when the estimated cost of the project rose from $100,000 to $150,000 McCoy started to lose hope.
“About that time I decided to just throw in the towel and forget about it. I had been working on it for years and got sick of it,” she recalled. “Then I’d go home and think, “Where else am I going to get a building like that for that price with that location?”
So after securing financing from Twin City Bank, she decided to stick with her original plan to consolidate her business’s warehouse and manufacturing departments on the first floor of the old building, situation next to Interstate 630. Her deadline for completion is March 1992.
The second and third floors will be boarded up. “We hope to grow up to it. As money becomes available, we’ll move all the way up to the top,” McCoy said.
And McCoy’s company, currently house in an 1890s Victorian cottage is on the upswing, doing business both nationally and internationally.
“I always saw Arkansas’ Flag and Banner in a red brick, artsy building where we could throw the windows open on a spring day. I just could not see us, as casual as we are and as creative as we are, working in an aluminum building, in cubicles and not being able to see out, and trying to be creative,” she said.
According to McCoy, the back of the building, to the north, was the original struction, built in the late 1800s. The side facing the interstate was added in 1971.
The most well known feature of Taborian Hall is the third-floor Dreamland Ballroom with its hot pink walls. In the ‘30s, some greats who graced the stage included Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
Today the building’s interior paint is faded and peeling and some of the wall plaster is gone. It will all remain that way.
McCoy is planning a preservation rather than a restoration. “I’m leaving it all…all the exposed brick and chipping plaster. It will be a like a warehouse. It’ll be great. People will say ‘this must have been a great place when … “‘
The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and McCoy says she had two choices: To leave it as she found it or return it to its original condition. “You can go back and actually replaster all the walls perfectly and take it back to the way it used to be, which is outrageous. You can’t afford to do that unless you’ve got $2 million.”
She may not have that kind of money to devote to Taborian Hall, but McCoy has lost her heart to it. “It’s got an energy to it. We went down there to celebrate the new year. You really get caught up in it.”
Even her conservative-minded financial manager, Charles Fisher, loves the building.
“You have to be over there to fall in love with it. I was not for this at first. I’m real conservative and look at everything in the company from the dollar’s point of view. But I knew that we had to move because our company was growing so fast. We needed a larger area. Once I got over there and got to looking at it, I kept thinking … Now I go over there every weekend and in the evenings,” Fisher aid.
And Fisher wasn’t the only one who second-guessed McCoy. “Everyone told me, when I bought the land, to just take my licks and run. I’m so glad I didn’t,” McCoy said, smiling. “They all said, ‘Go to an aluminum building … there’s no surprises. You can get one for $200,00.’”
“But I was thinking, ‘For 50,000 more, I could be in this building and the city is going to give me a $30,000) grant for the facade program.’ So for the same price, we can be in downtown Little Rock in a great old building.”
And she will be soon. Plans include adding a new roof and new third-floor joists and flooring, removing the mildew from the walls, doing plumbing and electrical work on the first floor, replacing broken windows, and repairing the tile hall floor.
“Every wall that wasn’t a load-bearing wall is rotted and falling down so we’re just taking them down. We’ll have all exposed conduit pipes, leave the ceiling rafters exposed, and stain all the wood dark,” McCoy said of the reconstruction.
A for the fixtures: Ceiling fans and hanging fluorescent lights, all easily removable, will be added. “In case we ever want to put in some nicer stuff. But anything’s an improvement over what was there.” McCoy said.
Despite the amount of work Taborian Hall needed, McCoy said she was never overwhelmed by the project.
“I think real methodically … step by step. It’s like eating an elephant; you just take it a bite at a time.”
McCoy seems to be a shrewd businesswoman too.
“I kept thinking, ‘630, how many cars are driving by a day and can see our big sign out there? What free advertising. “‘
And it’s working. The business’s phone has been ringing off the wall.
“People call us and say. ‘I just wanted to thank you for doing that.’ Isn’t that nice?”
McCoy, who lives in Hillcrest in a 1930s home, is no stranger to downtown. As a single, she rented an apartment in an old house there. Today she ·hares her home with husband Grady and children, Meghan, 12, Gray, 4, and Matthew, I.
“My husband says he’ll kill me if l take him down the tubes with me. I told him we may have to live in it (Taborian Hall) if it doesn’t work out,” he said, smiling.
While today McCoy is cheered, not LOO long ago she was jeered by friends and family. “Everyday that’s all I heard. ‘When are you going to get that roof fixed?’ But now they’re starting to have a little more respect for us.”
Even co-workers teased her. Fisher recounted this tale: “I and someone else from the office were in Mississippi on business. We passed a building down there that was falling down and the roof was half burnt off. We said, ‘let’s stop and take a picture and see if Kerry wants to buy it.”‘
Now McCoy’· friends arc behind her 100 percent, something that is important to her. “If I was restoring a home, it would just be me, my husband and my kids going. ‘Isn’t this fun?’ But the way it is now, there’s a lot of people to share it with.”
Linda Caillouet is a writer for The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
In order to meet consumer demands, FlagandBanner.com has expanded their clothing and jewelry product lines to include name brand fashions and on trend ready-to-wear patriotic clothing for the upcoming summer season.
Little Rock, Arkansas (PRWEB)March 31, 2016
Arkansas’ FlagandBanner.com has been in the flag industry for more than 40 years. Their experience has shown American’s not only love Old Glory in front of their homes and businesses but also in their ready-to-wear clothes. Patriotic fashions are always in style but demand increases when patriotism spikes. This year provides two events that are sure to illicit American pride: elections and Olympics.
The patriotic season kicks off with Armed Forces Day, Peace Officers Memorial Day and Memorial Day all falling within the month of May. Flag Day is in June, Independence Day on the fourth of July, US Coast Guard Day and National Airborne Day are celebrated in August and Labor Day, VJ Day, Patriot Day, Star Spangled Banner Day, Constitution Day, US Air Force Day and National POW/MIA Day wind up the season in September. Add to that the Summer Olympics and the Presidential election, one can understand this will be a year that people will be proudly sporting patriotic fashion.
In order to meet consumer demands, FlagandBanner.com has expanded their clothing and jewelry product lines to include the name brands of True Hitt, Silver Moon Factory, T-Party, D.K. Fashion, Socksmith, Yak & Yeti, Eagle Wing, Lord Daniel sportswear, and Montana West. Products include a shoes, socks, sunglasses, jewelry, dresses, swimwear, watches, ties, scarves, men and women shirts, pants and a children’s line.
Those keeping up with trending fashion know stars and stripes have gone Black and White. Celebrity watchers will have seen the monochromatic patriotic clothes and caps worn by Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, Kate Upton and others.
With a degree in fashion merchandising, Kerry McCoy, owner and president of Arkansas’ FlagandBanner.com has always had a flair for fashion. “I am excited about expanding our clothing line. I especially love the black and white clothes. Being a small business owner I have the flexibility to try new things. I have to really hold myself back from being too far out on trends and technology. It is not called the bleeding edge for nothing. You can really lose your shirt by advancing your company too fast. There is a balance between new ideas and expenditures with trying to ensure our customers have a large selection, pleasant experience and ease of check out. We are always improving to provide the most quality product, expert service, and outrageous support possible,” said McCoy.
In business since 1975, Arkansas’ FlagandBanner.com carries more than 20,000 products including flags, flagpoles, installation, hardware, accessories, garden banners, bunting, clothing, home decor and more on their website. Visit their historic showroom located at 800 W. 9th Street in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. Open Mon-Fri 8-5:30 and Sat. 10-4, closed Sundays. The company also manufactures custom flags, banners, bag signs, construction banners, barricade signs, event tents, trade show table cloths and other custom products.
For more information about FlagandBanner.com visit them online or call 1-800-445-0653 to speak with one of their friendly flag experts.
Great product pictures of custom banners we made for (Rev.) Fr. Jason Rice (USAF Retired) – Corpus Christi Anglican Church (HCCAR)#customerappreciation #happycustomer #custombanners
Visit http://www.flagandbanner.com/custo…/custom_flags_banners.asp to learn more about our custom flags and banners and how to get a free quote!
This is a slide show of a recent flagpole installation at the law offices of Rainwater, Holt and Sexton in Little Rock, Arkansas. Flagpole sales and installation services from FlagandBanner.com are available all over the country. Contact us toll free at 1.800.445.0653 for details.
Kerry talks with radio host about Confederate Flags, Rainbow Flags, censorship, the emotions of flags and about being in business for 40 years and how it has changed over the years.
Flags shown behind President Obama are FlagandBanner.com products. We were glad to work with the Choctaw Nation on this project.
Visit us in store or online for the latest in Razorback tailgating needs. Everything from table wares to rugs, blankets, flags, banners, pennants, games and toys to keep the kids occupied. We’ve got it all and you won’t find some of our unique products anywhere else!
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.”