The September 11th attack
More flags flying into Hawai'i retailers
By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai'i retailers who sold out of the star-spangled banner in the post-attack burst of patriotism are beginning to replenish their stocks, this time in massive amounts.
Mary Phillips of the Flags Flying shop at Ward Warehouse had buyers lined up yesterday morning to clear her shelves of more than 50 flags, and expects the same if more are available today.
"Usually, I sell 80 percent of my American flags to Japanese tourists, who love the flag and love America," Phillips said.
With tourism sagging and patriotism soaring, the picture is reversed this week, she said.
"And we're selling a lot of Hawaiian flags, too. People who've never flown a flag before say that if they are going to fly the American flag, they will fly the Hawaiian one as well."
Phillips said she believes the demand will continue strong over time, in contrast to the short-lived surge in flag sales during the Gulf War, because Americans have been so deeply moved by the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
She urged customers planning to display the flag for the duration to wait, if necessary, for high-quality sewn banners rather than less expensive printed products.
Home Depot, which last week went out and bought 100 flags from a local shop and sold them at a loss to their own customers, will have 3,500 new flags in stock next week, store manager Bill McKale said.
Flags and Things of 'Aiea, which supplied the 100 banners to Home Depot, is thinking about re-entering the retail market on Saturday.
Owner Terry Archibald put up a sign turning retail customers away this week because he needed stock to supply schools and government and commercial accounts, and had been overrun with individual customers last week.
Janine Ferrari, a manager at Kmart in Kapolei, said her store's new shipment of flags should hit the docks here today and reach Kmart shelves shortly. How many? "Quite a few."
Wal-mart Mililani store manager Bryan Wall said, "We are out of flags right now, but each of our stores in Hawai'i has 2,000 on order.
The Sept. 11 attack by terrorists believed to be backed by Osama bin Laden from training camps in Afghanistan produced a run of sorts on another flag here as well.
"A man came in and bought a large Afghanistan flag from us," said Flags of the World clerk Violet Gaspar.
"As soon as he paid for it, he threw it on the floor and stamped on it," Gaspar said.