Production Flies High at Valley Forge Flag
BY CHRISTINE TORRES
Published June 11, 2019
Brilliant colors of old glory red, white, and blue rapidly pass through a digital dye process machine at a Valley Forge Flag manufacturing facility in South Carolina. With headquarters in Wyomissing, Penn., Valley Forge Flag Company is a premier domestic manufacturer and distributor of flags, banners, poles and accessories. The company has a few production and distribution sites in this state, and one in Huntsville, Ala., pumping out symbols sacred to the nation’s heart, mainly the Grand Old American Flag.
“Flags are an expression,” said Jeff Shaaber, vice president of commercial sales at Valley Forge. “How you feel, that can be communicated on a flag; whether for gay pride, political motivations, women’s rights. We have all kinds of people with excitement, who are passionate, and want to put their statement on a flag and share their symbolism. Any group can communicate a message and get it out there and display it.”
Each day, more than 300 workers at the company stitch honor and pride into applique and embroidered flags and thoroughly inspect quality nylon digital prints. Production is booming, and Valley Forge keeps its legacy strong through workplace efficiency and safety. Founded in 1882, the company is fourth-generation family owned and operated. Valley Forge makes small flags from 4 by 6 inches and as large as 30 by 60 feet. While a lot of the technology and methods for producing flags has changed over the years for efficiency, maintaining quality is most important.
Using a variety of materials, such as cotton, polyester, and Duratek, Valley Forge Flag creates traditional military ceremonial, state and international flags. They also produce flags and banners for clubs and community groups, sports teams, and schools. Productivity is streamlined at Valley Forge Flag facilities. Thousands of products begin through a line of operations, with duties that include sewing, machine setting, freeing blockages, adding inks, cleaning and maintenance. They then move on to distribution.
In 2005, Valley Forge Flag Company consolidated all of its manufacturing to state-of-the-art facilities in South Carolina. Safety and efficiency go hand in hand and the work environment is continually improving. Workers enjoy free weekends and day hours on weekdays. The company also participates in a variety of employment programs.
“I’ve been with the company for 25 years,” Shaaber said. “Our products are 100 percent made in the USA. Valley Forge Flag is an old-school, wholesome business and always has taken care of our employees.”
Leading the Way
From the shine and glint of embroidered stars to the double stitching details, Shaaber attends to the company’s passion for the quality of their products. That stems from the company’s solid business model founded on family and people.
“The company is more than just about a product that it’s selling. We have a lot of ties to the military, those who have a military background, and people who believe in patriotic products. The people I meet are some of the nicest people in industry. In the flag industry, there are a lot of mom and pop flag dealers, and they are some of the friendliest people; a real patriotic group.”
Valley Forge Flag prides itself on making U.S. flags from domestic materials with U.S. labor. The company is part of the National Independent Flag Dealers Association and is a founding member of Flag Manufacturers Association of America. FMAA and NIFDA are leading groups that support the textile identification of U.S. flags. “Look for the FMAA logo on your flag,” Shaaber said. This logo ensures the quality and production history of a U.S. flag or banner.
“We’ve been a steady business in the past three years,” Shaaber said. “We are just like every other business when global events can make an impact and create stronger years. This sometimes results in surges of patriotism. We hope that the belief in our products remains strong to support our country as a whole, which increases demand in our productivity.”