Here in Birmingham, you probably see an American flag every single day, even if you don’t think much about it. You may see them lining the side of the road on your morning commute, or hanging outside your bank downtown, or waving in your neighbor’s front yard. June 14 is National Flag Day in the United States, and in honor of the day, we’re highlighting the business behind the flags.
100+ Years of Birmingham Business
American Flag & Flagpole Company was founded around 1902 in a little house in Eastlake, according to owner Lee Forrester. A Birmingham woman began making flags in the back of her home in the early 1900s. She kept up her business for 20 years before it moved downtown, where it stayed for 40 more years. After operating for 45 years in the Homewood area, the owner passed American Flag Co. on to his friend and insurance agent in March 2007.
A Patriotic Tradition
Lee Forrester comes from a long family history of military service and patriotism. The former owner asked Forrester personally to take over the business. However, when asked what made him interested in running American Flag Co., Forrester replied:
“All my family served, all her (Leila Forrester, Lee’s wife) family served, and this is just our way of giving back.”
One of the points of pride for American Flag Co. is the manufacturers with whom they work. Although the company uses several different suppliers, the main three that they work with are all based right here in Alabama. Forrester estimated that around 75% of American Flag Co. merchandise is manufactured in Alabama, and he was proud to say that 100% of their products are produced within the United States.
…To Birmingham and Beyond
Forrester stated that his business has been supplying Birmingham and the surrounding areas with flags and other merchandise for over 100 years. From government buildings, municipalities, police and fire stations, many locations in the downtown business district, privately owned homes, schools and universities, and more- if you see a flag in the area, chances are it came from American Flag and Flagpole Company.
Flags from American Flag Co. don’t just travel to the Birmingham area, however. One flag made it all the way to outer space! The flag pictured above was aboard the STS-119 in March 2009.
This Flag Day, check out American Flag and Flagpole Company in Homewood and on Facebook!