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Building a successful business from the ground up is hard work, but spend an hour with Kerry McCoy, founder, owner and president of Arkansas Flag and Banner, and you will know that she has what it takes.
Photo used with permission of Arkansas Flagandbanner.com. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Benjamin Krain – 2/10/15
Kerry McCoy is a touch spunky, a touch crass and a touch energetic. With a whole lot of passion and a great business sense; McCoy has taken what began as a door-to-door sales business and built it into a multimillion-dollar company known around the country.
Arkansas Flag and Banner is not just a retailer of flags but is a full-service shop as well. They can create custom flags and banners and are also equipped to make repairs to your flags as needed. Arkansas Flag and Banner has some “big” customers like McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and even Disney, yet they pride themselves on giving all customers five-star treatment. When you call Arkansas Flag and Banner, you will speak to a real person six days a week during business hours. When you purchase a flag, you will be contacted twice a year to ensure that your flag is in top-notch condition. If your flag needs repairs, they will arrange that for you. If the flag is beyond repair, they will properly retire the flag for you and provide you with a coupon toward the purchase of a new flag.
Margarita Estrada has been an Arkansas Flag and Banner employee for nearly 10 years. Margarita hand sews custom flags and banners and makes repairs to American flags.
One of the most beautiful things about Arkansas Flag and Banner is the building in which it is located. The historic Taborian Hall (Temple) was built in 1916 and not only contains the showroom, employee offices, the shipping and receiving department and the sewing room, but also has a rich history hidden within itself.
The Taborian Hall was home to the Negro Soldiers Club and sits on “The Line,” which was the boundary between Little Rock’s black and white societies. The building also housed a pharmacy and soda shop, doctors and lawyer’s offices, and the Dreamland Grill which later became known as the Dreamland Ballroom. The building cost more than $1 Million dollars to build in 1916. It was financed by the black community and constructed by Simeon Johnson, a local black contractor. Taborian Hall was one of the most prestigious buildings in Little Rock and was the pride and joy of the black community.
The building, built by the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a philanthropic black fraternity that provided insurance for the black community and most notably, black widows and orphans. The fraternity would collect a small payment from the families and in return would provide widows and children with food and shelter in the event that the husband/father died. The current American welfare system was modeled after this effort.
Taborian Hall’s heyday was from the 1930s through the late 1960s when it housed three nightclubs – most notably the Dreamland Ballroom. The Dreamland Ballroom housed dances and drew notable performs such as B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Redd Foxx, Ray Charles and Sammy Davis Jr.
In the 1970s, following desegregation, black businesses began to move off “The Line”. People began to take their business elsewhere and shop in less expensive stores around the city. Booming West Ninth Street began to bust; buildings were abandoned or fell into severe disrepair.
Used with permission of Arkansas FlagandBanner.com.
In 1991, Kerry McCoy fell in love with the exterior of the building and took a huge leap of faith by purchasing the dilapidated, abandoned building for a mere $20,000. She embarked on an $180,000 renovation project that enabled them to repair the mostly missing roof and make the first floor habitable.
Used with permission of Arkansas FlagandBanner.com.
As Arkansas Flag and Banner has grown, so too has the Taborian Hall. Booming business following 9/11 paved the way for the McCoys to begin renovating the second floor. They moved all of their offices to the second floor and opened the beautiful showroom on the first floor. The showroom is open to the public.
In 2009, a nonprofit group, Friends of Dreamland, was established to bring the Dreamland Ballroom back to all its glory. Restoration efforts continue, but the ballroom is available for private functions. Arkansas Flag and Banner hosts several events in the Ballroom each year to help with fundraising and to educate the public on this American treasure. The Dreamland Ballroom is one of very few original ballrooms in America.
Arkansas Flag and Banner Headquarters is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 800 W 9th St, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201. The Dreamland Ballroom is available for private tours by appointment only. You can keep up with the Dreamland Ballroom progress via their Facebook page.
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