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Flag Day signals uptick for US flag manufacturers

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Toby Talbot/AP photo

(Read caption) Chuck Keough puts up a row of American flags to celebrate Flag Day at his home in East Montpelier, Vt., Monday. Mr. Keough is a US Army veteran, having served in the Korean War. American-based flag manufacturers are optimistic about sales of US flags this summer.

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It’s Flag Day – when Americans gather together to commemorate the adoption of the US flag at the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

Or, at least, to wave their own little piece of America.

The holiday falls in the middle of a patriotic tour de force: between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. For US flag manufacturers and retailers, this is go time. So, at the tail end of the worst recession in 80 years, how are they holding up?

“The flag business is alive and well,” says Jan Hartman, owner of Flag Lady Gifts a Pennsylvania-based flag retailer.

That’s not to say that Ms. Hartman and other retailers haven’t been affected by the recession. “Certainly we’ve had to trim fat,” acknowledged Hartman. But manufacturers are seeing signs of growth.

“May was very strong in terms of sales,” said Janice Christiansen, owner of FlagSource, an Illinois-based flag manufacturer. The company was kept afloat during the worst stretch of the recession last year by government contracts, which stayed steady when orders from commercial retailers dipped.

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