Local flag manufacturer struggling to keep up with demand for Ukrainian flags
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Not since 9/11 have so many people been buying flags in such short order.
That’s the take from a local flag maker now flooded with orders for Ukrainian flags.
All Nations Flag Company in the River Market has no complex assembly line. They have a cutting table and one seamstress. On Tuesday she was busy sewing strips of blue and yellow. A stack of eight flags sat on a table waiting for grommets to be installed. A box of about a dozen were in bags downstairs by the register. The waiting list of orders to be filled neared 100.
“I think Friday [February] the 4th was when the calls really started coming in. We ran out of material by that following Monday. [We] had to wait a couple of days to get more in, and since that’s happened, I think we’re on business day eight of just cranking out as many Ukrainian flags as we possibly can,” said co-owner Ryan Wald.
Mark Armato visited Tuesday hoping to buy a Ukrainian flag. He has no connection to Ukraine. He just wanted to show his support and support a local store in the process. He also thought it would be faster than waiting for an online order to be shipped.
“So, I thought I’d come down here. Of course, my wife said, ‘I’d call first because they may be out,’ and I said, ‘Nah.’ And so my wife was right again,” Armato said after placing an order.
Wald said the last time the store, owned by him, his dad, and his brother, had this much demand for a single nation’s flag was for American flags after 9/11. Never has he seen such a strong and sudden demand for another nation’s flag.
Kay Goodwillie popped in just before closing time to pick up the order she placed 10 days ago. She made the order right after meeting the couple who’d just moved in next door to her home.
“The new neighbor was in the backyard and I was introducing him to the dogs, and he said he was from Ukraine,” Goodwillie recalled.
She ordered three: for herself, her daughter, and her neighbor.
Wald said nine out of 10 buyers are like Armato, with no personal connection to Ukraine. Still, he was surprised by how many Kansas Citians have come in who are originally from Ukraine. He said heard from several customers early last week who were preparing for loved ones to arrive on flights
“And they were excited to go pick them up and they really wanted to have their flag, you know, at the airport,” Wald recalled.
Right now, the wait time is about two weeks. A 3′x5′ flag is $40.
“Ow,” reacted Armato, taken aback after seeing cheaper prices online.
That said, they aren’t made in China like so many mass-produced items. In light of China’s friendly, non-critical relationship with Russia, many who support Ukraine say it’s worth the wait.
“I have a feeling I will have plenty of time to fly my Ukrainian flag the way things are going, unfortunately,” Armato said.
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