JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Delays in manufacturing Mississippi’s newly-approved state flag mean some stores won’t see the new design until next month, according to the co-owner of central Mississippi’s largest flag retailer, who has established a waiting list for her customers to keep up with demand.
Brenda McIntyre with A Complete Flag Source said she has placed orders with three U.S.-based flag producers, but the screenprinting process and custom sewing required for other sizes of the banner -- coupled with the pandemic -- have led to unforeseen delays.
For example, those manufacturers have had less than three weeks from when the flag was approved to actually begin the manufacturing process.
McIntyre had ordered hundreds of digitally-printed flags to tide them over, but did so at a time when she was unsure whether voters would approve the design.
“There were eight weeks between the time that the decision was made [by the state’s flag commission to select the In God We Trust flag] to the vote that was going to be had," McIntyre said. “And, in COVID times, that’s not a very long turnaround. A lot of the flag manufacturers are really, really slow in producing because one week, they’ll have full staff and the next week, they’ll have half their staff gone with with issues of COVID.”
Even before the election, her store sold four hundred in two weeks. In fact, three customers inquired about new flags during the thirty minutes 3 On Your Side spent inside the store.
That steady increase in demand also shows those who lobbied for a change -- retiring the state’s Confederate battle emblem and accompanying controversy -- can unite behind a different symbol, according to Katie Blount, who serves as executive director of the state’s department of archives and history.
“I think it’s a sign that Mississippians are moving forward together. And I think it’s a really strong message to send to the world these days," Blount said. "This is a really, really important transition for Mississippi.”
At Two Mississippi Museums' gift shop, they still have In God We Trust flags for sale, but employees said their supplies are getting smaller.
In the meantime, those who want to purchase the new state flag can do so online through Amazon or other retailers, but the quality will be different and some colors may not match, McIntyre said.
Social media comments and user reviews of some of the flags appear to back that up, too.
The manufacturers McIntyre uses will be the same ones that provide flags to all Mississippi government buildings, and will also be used for the flag raising ceremony tentatively scheduled for January 2021.