It is surreal that we are approaching our 25 year anniversary. It does not seem possible that we have been in business for 25 years. In 2018 we celebrated our 20 year anniversary, we wrote about all of the things we have learned in those 20 years of Custom Flag Company. However, what we have learned in the last 5 years might be even more valuable.
Business was really ramping up in 2018 and we brought on a few trusted family members. Maddi joined the team as she was completing her marketing degree from University of Colorado, Denver. Then Brent came on board after a long, fulfilling career at The Denver Post. We began a website redesign with a new platform. We called in the professionals, and launched the new website in May of 2019. As anyone knows who has launched a new site, we hit a few roadblocks. Design wise everything transferred over smoothly, but the behind the scenes had some hiccups. Our ranking with Google took a big hit, as they viewed our website as a brand new website and none of our history or trust moved over. We trusted our partners that everything was in place and unfortunately, we were wrong. It took us several long months to get this fixed. We did recover and we continue to work on it, and today our ranking is better than ever.
Instead of panicking and laying everyone off when the world shut down in 2020, we adapted and kept everyone intact. It was our goal for our team to feel stable in their job while nothing else in the world was. We had faith that business would ramp up again, in fact, our service department was still out in the field doing everyday jobs. They were considered essential, since we work on construction sites. At this time we were still conducting our entire service department through paper work orders. We quickly realized this needed to be changed. Not just because of the pandemic, but it was time to move ahead and transition our service team to digital work orders. We have not looked back since.
Our office decided we should be remote. There was one person in the office a day to receive mail, ship orders, and receive deliveries. While this was fine and dandy, we were able to get a list of projects done and work on documenting our processes. The remote work lasted for one month and we were all ready to be back in the office and work as a team again. You don’t realize how much you feed off one another while in the office until you work alone at home all by yourself.
While Covid had the biggest impact in the past 5 years, we have to note that we had record breaking sales in 2020. Homebuilders needed a way to attract people to their communities without networking, so 70’ flagpoles started going everywhere, and still are. We also noticed people had extra money to spend on custom flags. They were still working, getting stimulus checks, and not spending money on travel, concerts, or festivals, which meant they had money to spend on things like flags. While working from home, people were spending more time in their yards, and decided they needed a flagpole. Residential flagpole sales surged. Also, it was an election year, people love to put their thoughts on a flag.
Because of how crazy 2020 was, 2021 felt like we really slowed down. Events were starting up again, but we didn’t notice the business coming in, and our number showed. This was the beginning of the flag shortage. Our turnaround times on custom flags were long since our factories were so far behind from the pandemic shut downs. While our service department was still busy because the housing department was booming in Colorado, we still had a down year in 2021 after a record breaking 2020. A staff member retired and we thought we could absorb the workload since our custom flag department was slower.
In January we did a refresh of our office space, new furniture, new paint, new lighting, and a new retail area. Since January is a quiet time of year the timing is perfect and we would be ready for the busy season. Little did we know, our custom flags sales exploded, especially for that time of year. Little did we know that all events were opening up in 2022 and everyone needed fresh flags. By the time April came around we were buried. We waited to see if this was going to be our new normal or if it was going to slow back down. To our surprise, it is our new normal. We ended up hiring someone mid-year and our custom sales have sustained. We were still in a flag shortage, but we took proactive action and stocked up on all sizes of US flags.
While reflecting on this year, we finally have the pandemic behind us. Our custom flag turn-around times are back to normal and we are able to accept rush custom flag orders. Stock flags are back in stock and ready to ship. Our service department is in a growth stage again, and we are actively hiring so we can put more trucks on the road to better serve the flagpoles in our community.
Sometimes it takes breaking down the year to see the successes we have had. Yesterday we were honored by the City of Westminster today for hitting our 25 year anniversary. Sitting there, the realization that we are one of 27 businesses that are still in business 25 years later. We are incredibly grateful for our amazing customers. We can’t do what we do without our amazing dedicated team. Thank you!
Remember the last 25 years with us in this video.