Long May It Wave
Flag World Company offers thousands of ways to let your flag fly
From houses of government to tailgate parties, flags are everywhere. National flags, state flags, school flags and even business flags snap and flutter around us every day. Americans love their flags, and that love has created a steady market—one that Khaled Hamideh, owner of Flag World Company, is proud to serve.
“The United States of America is made up of many different nationalities that have immigrated and made the United States their home,” Khaled says. “These people are proud of their history and heritage and the countries they came from. This led us to expand and test the marketplace in many states around the country, where we have learned about the kinds of flags and flagpoles our customers wanted. We are proud to be able to service our customers and all of their cultures.”
Khaled’s Flag World store in Aurora, Colorado, is 3,800 square feet and stuffed with a massive selection, making it a flag-lover’s dream, a nirvana for vexillologists. As with any family business, it all started with humble beginnings over 50 years ago when Khaled’s family began immigrating to the United States, settling in the Dallas area. With his family’s longstanding tradition of Texas pride in flying the flag as inspiration, his father and uncle began selling flags in the 1970s as traveling salesmen.
“When I started college, I too started selling flags for extra money,” Khaled says. “My cousins and I would go to an empty lot, string up a couple of ropes for display and sell flags at night or on the weekend. Eventually, my cousin opened a small shop in the West End part of Dallas. It was 250 square feet and sold all kinds of international, state and college flags.”
When life took a turn and Khaled’s family needed help, he left college after his sophomore year and, along with his brother and cousin, founded Flag World Company in 1989. The company’s first shop occupied 100 square feet near the famed River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. After a year, they expanded the size of the store, as business grew from about $10,000 per month to $25,000 per month. “We were three guys looking for improvement,” Khaled says. “We knew we had the experience to start our own store together.”
Soon, Khaled’s cousin opened another Flag World Company location in Phoenix. Khaled thought Denver would also be a prime location, so he opened another store there in 1990. At one point, Flag World Company included five stores, but Khaled closed two of them to consolidate the business and a third, in Nashville, Tennessee, was destroyed in a flood in 2010. The Aurora store remains the headquarters, and both it and the Phoenix store are still going strong.
“After over 29 years, we’re still privately owned and still sell flags and banners for all occasions,” Khaled says. “We have sold flags, flagpoles and accessories to over one million retail customers, including local, state and federal government agencies, military bases and officials, veterans’ organizations, apartment buildings and many national companies.”
Flag World Company’s inventory has grown over the years. The store’s primary business remains flags and flagpoles, but inventory has expanded to include clothing, pens, patches, hats, signs and a host of other items. Khaled says the total inventory runs to about 50,000 different items, not to mention the array of custom-designed products available. In fact, the size of the inventory has posed some difficulties for the company’s e-commerce, Khaled says.
“When you sell more than 50,000 items, it’s hard to get a website built that can handle all of them the way we would like,” Khaled says. “All the different sizes, designs, materials and custom options make it hard. We still do a lot of online business, but most of our sales are through the store itself. Plus, we’re part of the community here and are always looking to increase our local accounts.”
For Your Service
The biggest sellers, not surprisingly, are U.S. flags and Colorado state flags. Khaled says there’s also a lot of business in sports flags, for the NFL, NBA and NCAA teams.
“Our American flags are only made in America,” Khaled says. “You will not find an American flag made in China at Flag World Company. We take much pride in our American flag as that is where we began our business.”
“We’ve also changed our strategy to have more of a military and veterans theme,” Khaled continues. “We offer a big section of military items—flags, pins, T-shirts, hats and things like that. It’s a way to show respect for our veterans. I’ll do just about anything for the veterans. We have giveaway items for veterans and offer them a discount. They deserve it. I always enjoy talking to them and engaging with them when they come into the store.”
The store also loans flags to veterans for special events. “A retired Air Force lieutenant commander purchases our American flags all the time,” Khaled says. “The [military] base put on a special rodeo show two years ago, and we loaned them a 15-foot-by-25-foot flag. They did the event again this year, and we loaned them a 20-foot-by-50-foot flag.”
Being the go-to store isn’t always easy, but Flag World Company is committed to the challenge. There was a school in Aurora that wanted 10,000 custom flags made, with a three-day turnaround time, Khaled recalls. Usually, the process takes anywhere from five to 10 days, but he got it done because exceptional customer service is what he built his reputation on.
“Custom design can be a challenge, but I’m up to it. You’ve got to have the connections and relationships to get these things done this fast,” he says. “The school employee who placed the order is a veteran and I was determined to make sure this veteran got his needs met. It is the least we can do to honor our veterans in any way possible. My contacts pitched in and we got this done for him.”
It’s the kind of service that all Flag World Company customers have come to expect. “It’s part of our service. We are a one-stop shop,” Khaled says. “Our team is here as needed, from flagpole installation to custom designs. Our customers come first and we will meet their needs because they count on us.”