NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Consumers' patriotism has translated into record sales for flags and other merchandise since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and it's been difficult for suppliers to keep pace.
Wholesaler C.B. Ragland here distributed merchandise like car flags, lapel pins, bandannas and T-shirts to the stores it serves, but Jim Fendley, director of nonfoods, said there is nothing left to buy.
"I could sell 1,000 T-shirts easily. Getting them is hard right now," he told SN.
Paul Swenson, president of Colonial Flag, a flag distributor/wholesaler based in Sandy, Utah, said demand has gone up "2,000%" since the tragedies.
"We did as much in one day as we did in the whole month of June, our busiest month," he said. He expects back orders until the end of November, after sending out more than a million flags to supermarkets and other retailers in the first 10 days after the attacks.
"People want lapel pins, kitchen magnets, T-shirts. They're not just buying one flag; they're buying a dozen," he noted.
Swenson said his company was not celebrating the sales gains, however.
"We're not high-fiving each other," he said. "We'd give it all back if the [victims] were back."
Bob Yehling, director of general merchandise at Harps Food Stores, Springdale, Ark., said he expected demand to be high at least through the end of the year.