Celebrating Flag Day with The Heritage Flag Co.

Today is Flag Day, and we are celebrating Old Glory with a Meet the Maker Spotlight on The Heritage Flag Co.

From first glance, it's easy to see how Americans are falling in love with this unique company! Their one-of-a-kind Instagram account showcases their one-of-a-kind bourbon barrel American Flags, using the hashtag #FollowTheFlag.  Well, you know us Rosies! We can't say, "no" to a new adventure! So "follow the flag" is exactly what we did, and what we learned is that the humble words found on The Heritage Flag Co.'s website was tell half of their amazing story!

"The Heritage Flag, each one-of-a-kind, serves as a tribute to the men, women and their families who selflessly serve our nation and protect our freedoms."
In 2014, Southern Pines Woodworking owner, Heath, was contacted by a group of 3rd Special Forces Group soldiers about a very special project. They had served their country well, but were ready to take on a new challenge: Entrepreneurship. Heath learned that these Veterans were planing to open a brewery right in the heart of Downtown Southern Pines, NC, and his mission was to build them a custom bar for the taproom. 
With his plate already full, Heath wasn't ready to make any promises. But after getting to know these men, a strong bond began to form. Heath was trusted to go wherever inspiration took him and, slowly but surely, his innovative and authentic design  for a bar made of whiskey barrels began to take form.

"They invited me each week to their business meetings. It was really fascinating to see how the military taught these guys to run a business. The things they laid out, I didn't learn in college. I knew they were gonna do great things!"
As the grand opening of Southern Pines Brewing Co. drew closer, Heath knew he wanted to do something for the owners to thank them for their service, pursuing the dream and becoming entrepreneurs.  And so, the leftover whiskey barrel scrap was to be used to make tables for each of the three Veterans.  Well that was the plan, at least. That is, until Heath had a very vivid dream about an American Flag. He found himself sketching out the image in his head in the middle of the night on the back of a shopping list and once completed, his team agreed: There was no question. This would be their gift to the Southern Pines Brewing Co. owners.

The first Heritage Flag was hung above the bar, covered, before the opening. When it was unveiled in front of family and friends, the emotions in the room overtook the new owners. The custom whiskey barrel American Flag was the perfect bow on top of the bar.  Heath and his team at Southern Pines Woodworking swore they would never make another; it was a one-of-a-kind gift that would not be duplicated.  But in the end, everyone involved learned that some promises are meant to be broken.

"One of the brewery owners called me and said, 'More people are interested in this flag than they are the beer! You need to make more!'"

As it turned out, visitors of the brewery were going to the end of the internet, and found that nothing like The Heritage Flag existed anywhere else.  However, Heath's mind was not changed until he received a phone call from a Veteran whose home had burned to the ground. He was in the midst of rebuilding his life and wanted a Heritage Flag to be the first thing he hung in his new home. The woodworking team fulfilled his request without delay, but had no idea what a legend this Veteran really was.

The second Heritage Flag would be hung in the new home of Golden Knight, Bran,  and his photo of the piece on Instagram went viral, almost overnight.  (Photographed below is Bran and President George H.W. Bush. How amazing is that!?) The next few months were eye opening for Heath, and changed his whole perspective on life and what it means to find success.

Heath was invited to Washington DC by a 2-Star General who wanted a Heritage Flag. He received a private tour of Arlington National Cemetery. When he came back, he was unable to talk about it.

"It still chokes me up. I'd never seen the sacrifice. So when I got home, I gathered my employees. "... I said, 'Who cares about all the money in the world? This is a really unique opportunity. I've gotta chase this.' I gave them all the opportunity to look for another job, but not one single person left." 

On Veterans Day 2014, The Heritage Flag Co. made its big debut online. They sold 90 flags that day, and received 15,000 emails that week. But it's not the sales that define success for this company; it's the inspirational stories of courage that walk through the door every day. 

"We're on our way to the top of Mount Everest, but we don't even have our boots on yet. We're also hoping this year the US Olympic Sailing Team wins the Gold.  When they do, they have chosen to raise one of our flags in Rio."

The Heritage Flag Co.'s mission and social impact is such a perfect example of how a company does not need to be a  non-profit to do good things for good people. They've taken a symbol of freedom and hope and used it to the channel the American Spirit in a modern way, delivering it to all four corners of the globe. And in some instances, it is delivered in astonishing ways.

On May 16th, 2016, Combat Veteran and double-amputee Julian Torres reached the snow-capped Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with The Heroes Project. A few days later, Heath and his team received this gift in the mail: A framed photograph of Julian with a Heritage Flag at the top.

\\ Read more about Julian Torres Here \\

From the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the foyer of the Pentagon Visitor Center in Washington DC, across the ocean into the homes of military families and back to the R. Riveter retail shop in Southern Pines, Heritage Flags are flying proudly.

That's right! Heath and his team sent us a special delivery following our television debut on Shark Tank: A custom whiskey barrel American Flag with the R. Riveter logo for our retail location. It was a beautiful gift that celebrates "the entrepreneurial spirit that is a vision of the American dream."

Interview + Story \\ Kellie Gunderman

R. Riveter Photography \\ Abi Ray

Instagram Photography \\ @TheHeritageFlag