Rebel flag sales are up since Charlottesville. One north Alabama shop may be the only flag manufacturer in America meeting the increased demand.
Alabama Flag & Banner is located in a small strip near downtown Huntsville. Two years ago, the company began manufacturing the Confederate flag after retailers pulled it from their shelves in the wake of the mass shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. in which nine people were killed by a white supremacist who’d been photographed holding a Confederate flag.
The country’s major flag manufacturers stopped producing rebel flags. Eventually, said longtime owner Belinda Kennedy, Alabama Flag & Banner became the go-to manufacturer for hundreds of retailers across the country looking to stock American-made Confederate flags. Online orders boomed, too.
Two weeks ago, after the deadly Charlottesville rally sparked a national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be removed from parks around the country, flag sales spiked again.
“After the church shooting (in 2015), Amazon and Walmart stopped selling (the flag) and people were afraid they wouldn’t be able to buy it,” she said. “And then you started seeing streets renamed, schools being renamed, mountains being renamed. And then people started getting angry.
“And then there’s another surge (in sales).”
Since 2015, Alabama Flag & Banner has sold an average of 600-800 Confederate flags a year. Before that, they typically made a handful of special orders per year because they were able to order flags from a larger manufacturer.
Kennedy said there are now Chinese-made flags available elsewhere, and she’s seen a handful of individuals online who hand-sew flags to order, but as far as she knows her business is the only one in the country currently manufacturing Confederate flags.
About half of the Confederate flags at her shop are a more labor-intensive appliqued flag which retails for anywhere from $93 to upwards of $200. The rest are a less…