Flag Merchants React to Confederate Flag Tipping Point

As anyone remotely interested in flags knows, this week has seen a tremendous amount of public interest in Confederate flags and their changing meanings — scrutiny and re-evaluation that has resulted in prominent retailers like Walmart and major flag manufacturers like Annin announcing they will no longer carry these flags.  (For comprehensive coverage, see Richard Gideon’s American Vexillum postings.)

Here in Portland, this led to our largest flag maker and retailer Elmer’s Flag and Banner being featured in The Oregonian.  Headlined Flag store owner wrestles with decision to remove Confederate flags, in it journalist Anna Marum interviews at some length Dave Anchel, the owner of Elmer’s about the complex tensions between serving the market as a business, representing the world of flags as a kind of public archive, and following one’s conscience as a community member and individual.

The article is well worth reading; here is an excerpt:

When Anchel bought the store in 2011, he was appalled to see it sold the Confederate flag.

“We sell that?” he remembers thinking. “Why do we sell that? That flies in the face of everything I stand for. Get it out of here.”

But slowly, Anchel came to understand that the store, which carries flags of every country in the world – as well as those from the War of 1812 and the American Revolution – was a historical archive of sorts.

“When you have a flag store you’re going to carry things you don’t like,” he said. “Because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be true to the completeness of the collection. If you go to any flag store anywhere in the country, it’s the same dilemma.”

(As a further indication of the current public interest in flags, the article has garnered 877 comments — a level of engagement usually reserved for complaining about city government.)

We look forward to hearing more from Dave at a future PFA meeting.  We are living in vexillologically interesting times!

Dave Anchel, owner of Elmer's Flag & Banner in Northeast Portland, decided to remove the Confederate flag from the shelves of his store on Northeast Broadway. He'll remove it from the company's Internet site, and keep it behind the counter of his store, where he will sell it upon request and in person. Elmer's Flag & Banner in Northeast Portland has flags from every nation in the world along with a wide variety of historical flags, including the Confederate flag. June 23, 2015 Nakamura/Staff Beth Nakamura | The Oregonian/OregonLive
From the Oregonian: “Dave Anchel, owner of Elmer’s Flag & Banner in Northeast Portland, decided to remove the Confederate flag from the shelves of his store on Northeast Broadway. He’ll remove it from the company’s Internet site, and keep it behind the counter of his store, where he will sell it upon request and in person. Elmer’s Flag & Banner in Northeast Portland has flags from every nation in the world along with a wide variety of historical flags, including the Confederate flag. June 23, 2015 ” Photo by Beth Nakamura | The Oregonian/OregonLive.
Advertisements

Author: SDM

Ethnography * Technology * Design

3 thoughts on “Flag Merchants React to Confederate Flag Tipping Point”

      1. well you could actually remove the post then and just pass the message to Ted Kaye if possible. I thought he would like to know…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s