American-only flags is a new law for 2008
WILLMAR -- When a new "made in America" law goes into effect Jan. 1, Mark Erickson won't have to change a thing about how he does business. For 21 years, Uncommon USA Inc. in Willmar has been selling flags and flag poles all around the country. A...
WILLMAR -- When a new "made in America" law goes into effect Jan. 1, Mark Erickson won't have to change a thing about how he does business.
For 21 years, Uncommon USA Inc. in Willmar has been selling flags and flag poles all around the country. And for all of those years, every single flag the business has sold has been made in the United States. "We've never ordered any foreign-made flags," Erickson said.
Starting Jan. 1, no retailer in Minnesota will be able to sell an American flag unless it's been manufactured in the United States.
Small novelty items will be excluded from the law, but from now on, when Old Glory is purchased in Minnesota, it must have a "made in the USA" tag on it.
"I think it's a good thing," Erickson said. "It's our country's flag, why can't we buy it in the United States?"
Erickson said he pays more for American-made flags, and honestly, in a blindfold test, he said it would be hard to tell the difference between an American-made flag and a cheaper one made in a foreign country. He's seen price estimates that put foreign-made flags at about one-third the cost of American-made flags.
But carrying only American-made flags is how their company has always done business, Erickson said, in part because it's what customers want.
"The people who buy from us, typically, are patriotic people and they're typically 50 years or older and they prefer U.S. products," Erickson said. Customers who have been in the military "are not going to buy a foreign-made flag."
Erickson said the new Minnesota law should help American businesses that make American flags. There's the possibility, however, that the higher cost of buying an American-made flag could make it difficult for some Minnesotans to afford to buy a U.S. flag, which could result in fewer American flags being flown.