Confederate Flag Sales Soar Amid National Debate

MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com)--Looking to buy a Confederate battle flag? Good luck finding one.  

Sales have skyrocketed after companies like Walmart, Amazon and Sears announced they would discontinue sales of products tied to the flag.

This all comes after the controversy in South Carolina over the flag flown at the state capitol.

It's the time of year when the American flag is the hot seller, but the controversy has suddenly put the Confederate flag in high demand.

Things have been different at Dennis Criscuolo's flag store in Memphis this week.

"Monday morning, three days ago," recalled Criscuolo.

Merchandise at his store, flagcenter.com, has been flying off the shelves.

"And we kind of were shaking our head asking what's going on?"

Well, not just any merchandise--Confederate battle flags.

These were the last three left in his possession, shipped off tonight to a customer in Arkansas.

"The store is completely empty at this time. We have a waiting list that is literally pages and pages long for anything Confederate related," said Criscuolo. 

The top three flag manufacturers, including Valley Forge Flag Company has stopped making them.

"It stands for slavery to a lot of people, to a lot of other people it's civic pride. But the fact is, the two are very difficult to separate," said Reggie Vanden of Valley Forge Flag.

And the top retailers like Sears, Amazon and Walmart have stopped selling them.

"We felt like this was the right thing to do," said Walmart CEO Douglas McMillion.

eBay announced yesterday that they will cease selling them too, although we found several Confederate flags for sell on the site. eBay told us they're working to block new listings and to notify sellers to remove the flags from the site.

So, hardcore Civil War buffs and Confederate flag enthusiasts are looking anywhere for the merchandise. Even this small flag store here in the Mid-South.

"To think something that happened a thousand miles away was affecting a small flag store was a surprise to us," said Criscuolo.

From flags with Colonel Reb on them to the Tea Party's "Don't Shred Me" flags, he says he's shocked by how much controversy flags have stirred up lately.



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