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In my 40+ years in business, Flag and Banner (FAB) has been through decades of drastic changes. When first starting out in 1975, I sold flags door to door and even carried some inventory in the trunk of my car. But when gas prices soared, when my daughter was born, and when long-distance calling became affordable (due to the deregulation of Ma Bell’s monopoly), I changed to a telemarketing sales strategy.

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Whenever any flag controversy arises, the media comes a-calling, asking the flag experts for a comment.
This past week, just such an occasion arose when the representative from Arkansas District 54, Mr. Johnny Rye, made news by submitting House Bill 1014 which would make stomping, defacing, or burning the flag punishable with up to one year in prison.

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It’s weird to think about … Arkansas Flag and Banner preceded Google on the web by three years and became one of Google’s first customers. It’s true! They used to send me Christmas gifts. I got a Google beach towel one year and a Google mini fridge the next year; it never really cooled.

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Most people probably do not realize this, even those that read my blog regularly, but the official name of my blog is Bannerisms and its official web address is Bannerisms.com. What a weird, made-up name. What does that even mean? And why did I let someone talk me into that name?

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Synonyms for small business owners: problem solver, therapist, lender, mother, teacher, enabler, enforcer, sympathizer, promoter, communicator, capitalist, and optimist. Take out capitalist and lender and it could be a job description for a preacher or homemaker.

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Recently, as I was checking-in on our company Facebook page and reading some of the comments made on the half-staff notification for Ruth Bader-Ginsburg. I was taken aback by the lack of civility and misspellings. When I asked my staff about it, they shrugged helplessly and said, “We think it is Russian bots.” What?!

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Have you ever noticed that schoolteachers are good at everything? They are task oriented, organized, trained to think linearly, good communicators, punctual, dress appropriately, work well in groups, and are often optimistic by nature. Anytime I see “schoolteacher” on a resume’s list of prior jobs, I want to hire them. Out of necessity, I have recently been looking at a lot of resumes and hoped, with the current school situation, there might be a few teachers wanting to change careers but, so far, no luck.

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Last month, in another blog post, I wrote that FAB had some exciting news to share and I could not wait to tell everyone. Also, if you remember, last year I asked my readers for suggestions on adding a new product line that would complement FAB by having merchandise synergy and a peak season in the winter months (opposite FAB’s summer peak in flag sales). Thank you for all the good product suggestions …

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It has been years since I played in the rain. Recently, a rain event began in panic and desperation as I tried to stop flooding into our warehouse that has over $250,000 worth of inventory in it, but ended in a carefree, childlike feeling.

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At first, I thought it was just the flag business that was seeing unprecedented sales. But, after noticing all the bare shelves in other retail stores and after asking around, I realized that this phenomenon is all over the place. People are shopping and spending their eating-at-home savings and newfound stimulus money like crazy.

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When I first started Flag and Banner, I waitressed at Sir Loin’s Inn to supplement my income. I was young and my boss at the restaurant, Mr. Aaron Ross, was a business mentor, of sorts. One day, I asked, “What’s it like to be the boss?” I’ll never forget what he said because it’s proved true over and over again. He said, “Being the boss is doing all the things you can’t pay other people to do.”

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As the shipping boxes began to pile up by the recycle bin, so, too, did my guilt. How many trees had to die in the fulfillment of my consumerism? Shipping a single item per box with all its packing waste is not exactly earth friendly, but I rationalized that I was saving on fuel and reducing air pollution. It seems that, in all of life, there is a trade-off.

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This week on my radio show, Up In Your Business, the returning guest from Arkansas’s Small Business Administration, State Director Edward Haddock, went over the new programs currently rolling out for small businesses. Having applied for both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program Grant, I felt it was important for me to share my experience with my listeners and demystify the process for my business peers. Here is what I learned:

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Though it was only last week, it seems like a lifetime ago that Mayor Frank Scott’s secretary called and, most apologetically, canceled the mayor’s guest appearance on Wednesday’s live broadcast of Up In Your Business, saying a COVID-19 case had just been reported in Arkansas and Governor Asa Hutchinson had called an emergency coronavirus task-force meeting.

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