CULLMAN – With the controversy around the Confederate flag swirling, the management at Wilborn Outdoors saw a business opportunity. They began stocking Confederate flags about three weeks ago, and the results have been impressive.
"We can't keep them in," said Store Manager Tommy Holcombe.
He says the national situation with the Confederate flag has made people want to buy the 'stars and bars.'
"They never came in asking for them before," he said.
The store has two different versions of the flag in stock: a large version for $10 that features an eagle graphic in the center and a small version for $2.99 that features a flag on a wooden pole. There is also a bumper sticker at the store that reads, 'Keep It Flyin' with the Confederate flag on it.
Holcombe said The Tool Shed has always stocked Confederate flags, but recently put in an order for 1,500. He said a typical order is about 50 flags.
"We got an order in yesterday and are down to 27 flags left today," he said.
Holcombe said he doesn't know if the frenzy behind the flags will continue, plateau, or drop off, but he likens the situation to the national media's speculation of a federal ban on assault rifles following a school shooting a few years ago.
"We couldn't keep them on the shelves. Which was new for us because we had only ever stocked hunting rifles, but people came in asking for ARs because they didn't think they'd be able to buy them much longer," Holcombe said.
He explained that it seems that the Confederate flag situation has a similar dynamic because people believe something might be taken away from them.
"No one comes in here talking about hate," he said, "It's always about heritage. One 70-year-old lady came in and bought one because of her pride in the Confederacy. Nineteen-year-old kids seem to come buy them because of the way it looks," Holcombe said.
He went on to say that no one comes in and purchases a flag to spite anyone nor does anyone have any animosity behind his or her reasoning.
Holcombe said he is not one to fly a Confederate flag, but because of the opportunistic nature of the business world, the store began stocking the flags.
"The flag flying out front is only flying as a demo," he said.