Made in the U.S.A.
American Flags Express produces high quality flags in Wisconsin

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

June 5, 2015

   

 Seamstress Janie Pardee creates a flag for American Flags Express from her home Tuesday.  
Photo courtesy of Thomas D’Amico

BUTLER - A photograph of a flag taken along the Pacific Coast Highway in California hangs behind the desk of Thomas D’Amico, which seems fitting because he owns American Flags Express in Butler. But it reveals even more if you know his early love of flag photography led him to start an online flag business and he took that photo displayed in his office.

D’Amico said his parents gave him a camera when he was 14 years old and he would use it to take 1,000 pictures, only one of which he liked because it was so hard to get a flag flying perfectly in the breeze.

Since then he has become educated in what makes a flag wave (pressure applied in certain areas) and what corner wears out the fastest (the top corner furthest from the pole).

American Flags Express began in 1997 with the design of a website that included a shopping cart - one of the first businesses to offer online shopping, D’Amico said.

“People were very skeptical of ordering on the Internet; it was very slow,” D’Amico said of the early days.

 A tag on a flag shows that it was made in the United States by American Flags Express.   
Photo courtesy of Thomas D’Amico

Even though getting the website to work with credit card companies was difficult, it gave his company a huge boost in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 when people wanted American flags fast. D’Amico said he hired 15 people to pick and pack products, but still wasn’t able to keep up with the demand created by the country’s renewed patriotism. About six months after Sept. 11, Chinese-made flags began to flood the market, he said, but they often weren’t properly marked.

“People were buying Chinese (made) American flags and weren’t even aware of it,” D’Amico said. Some, he said, didn’t even realize it was legal for an American flag to be made overseas.

American Flags Express offered what most foreign-made flags lacked: reinforced stitching and high quality material. If a flag should get worn, American Flags Express offers a repair service. The company also sends out electronic notices when a flag should be flown at half-staff nationally or in individual states.

For worn-out flags, American Flags Express also offers a recycling program.

The flags sold by D’Amico’s company are made in a facility in Fredonia or by three seamstresses who work from their homes.

Each year, American Flags Express produces more than 10,000 American flags for residential use, not including the small flags often handed out at parades or the flags sold for commercial and government uses. But American Flags Express does make the small vinyl flags and even the big flags that are often displayed at car dealerships.

While American flags may be part of the company’s name, it also sells state, world, military and promotional flags, as well as flagpoles.

www.flagsexpress.com

Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com