The Flag Shop celebrates Manitoba flag’s 50th birthday

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/05/2016 (2403 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The first official Manitoba flag was hoisted on May 12, 1966.

At exactly 3:30 p.m. that day, 2,000 flags reached the tops of their poles at Manitoba schools and municipal offices in celebration of the new flag, according to an archival statement from the Provincial Secretary. Additionally, schools distributed 130,000 hand flags to children in Grades 1 to 6. May 12 was chosen as the inauguration of the Manitoba flag because Manitoba became a province with the signing of the Manitoba Act on May 12, 1870.

At 1195 Pembina Hwy., The Flag Shop is ready to celebrate the Manitoba flag’s 50th birthday.

Sou'wester (From left): Samantha Hobson and her parents, Guy and Magda (Chippy) Gauthier have been running The Flag Shop on Pembina Highway for 20 years.

For the past 20 years Guy and Magda (Chippy) Gauthier, and now daughter Samantha Hobson, have been running The Flag Shop. When Guy Gauthier, an aspiring business owner, originally saw an ad in the paper to purchase a Flag Shop franchise, he gathered the necessary information.

A family-owned business sounded attractive especially because Magda was a very good seamstress and therefore the opportunity perked his family’s interest. Working together as a family has worked well, as they have realized and exercised their individual strengths to run a successful business.

Magda does the sewing but other jobs, such as stock-taking and customer assistance are shared.

Contemplatively, Guy says “flags are a unique product. They are symbolic. Every time there is an event, people want to display flags to show their support. It is good that we are selling product but unfortunately sometimes it is as a result of a tragedy somewhere in the world.”

“One of the key factors in our Flag Shop is that we custom-make a lot of flags. Many are hand-sewn custom flags or national flags sewn to the size the customer needs.”

Behind the storefront that displays the many products for sale, The Flag Shop has a large workshop in the back where Magda cuts and sews nylon fabrics into brilliant designs.

Much of The Flag Shop’s business is corporate — government and schools. The shop’s No. 1 seller is the Canada flag but many businesses like to fly their corporate logos on a flag. That is when experienced and adept seamstress Magda custom sews corporate logos onto flags. The Flag Shop also does commercial installations for flags and poles.

In addition to flags, The Flag Shop also sells all varieties of banners and poles to go with them.

Banners have seasonal themes such as spring, summer, or fall designs or holidays such as Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas that people like to display in front of their houses or cottages and can change with the season.

“We carry themes in stock. If there is something that we do not have, we add it or make it.”

One of the most notable flag installations The Flag Shop is responsible for is the Parade of Flags at the Royal Canadian Mint at 520 Lagimodiere Blvd.

The colourful Parade of Flags features the 77 flags of the countries whose coins are minted at this location.

Helen Lepp Friesen is a community correspondent for Fort Garry. You can contact her at helenfriesen@hotmail.com

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