Family-owned custom-flag company waves goodbye to Carroll County

SUMMER In Carroll County

July 03, 2005|By Jill Stone | Jill Stone,SUN STAFF

After 15 years of operating in Carroll County, the owners of Regal Flags & Poles Inc. have packed up their boxes and are moving the business to Florida.

The company, which sells American-made flags and accessories, has been operating out of the airpark business center off Route 97 since 2001, when the owners established an Internet business for their flags.

"We're still going to be available to Carroll County," said Tricia Dale, manager and founder of Regal Flags & Poles Inc., because the company completes most of its transactions online at www.flags.com. She is moving to be closer to her daughter.

From the basement of their Manchester home, Tricia and her husband, Allan Dale, began the company in 1990, providing families with custom, American-made flags. He died in January 2004.

Quickly outgrowing the basement space, the business relocated to the business center in Westminster and hired a staff of six, including the Dales' daughter Allana, 20, and their grandson Seth, 19.

"It's definitely a family business," she said. "Thank goodness it's continued to grow."

The business was started after Dale and her husband took a trip to Maine, and discovered a vendor selling American flags and accessories. The Dales found it difficult to located American flags and flagpoles in the Carroll County area, so they decided to create their own company, working with distributors along the East Coast, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

With the July 4 holiday, flag sales have increased significantly.

"Around Memorial Day and July 4 is one of our busiest times of the year," Seth Dale said.

During the holiday, the company sells mostly the smaller patriotic 2-inch-by-5-inch nylon and 3-inch-by-5-inch polyester flags, as well as lapel pins and magnets.

One of the company's biggest sellers of the year is a pleated fan with the red, white and blue colors that decorates houses during Independence Day.

"I think it's very important to honor our flag ... there's more to holidays than hot dogs and hamburgers," said Pat Magruder, office manager at Regal Flags.

Magruder said the company's No. 1 customer is the military, and those sales have increased significantly for July 4.

The company has even obtained and shipped items for soldiers overseas. The soldiers placed orders for flags of their home states to place outside their tents, Magruder said.

Requests for Iraqi and Kuwaiti flags have also been filled for American soldiers who want to display them to show respect for the citizens they are protecting.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the company sales dropped because there was so much competition to distribute American flags. However, the company has regained most of its customer base and has continued to grow, Tricia Dale said.

The company also supplies flags to individual buyers, schools, companies and various conventions.

Striving for customer service and quality, the employees "believe in what we sell," Tricia Dale said.

She said the employees have been excited about the new aluminum flagpole that prevents the flag from wrapping around the pole, versus the fiberglass pole that requires a device that allows the poles to move and swivel on their own.

Tricia and Seth Dale hope that the business will continue to be a success in promoting patriotism and pride, no matter where its location.

"It's been in our family since we started it 15 years ago," Seth Dale said. "It's a good thing to keep it going."

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