PROUDLY MADE IN AMERICA
Eder Flag Manufacturing Company on Rawson Avenue is not only the largest manufacturer of flags and flagpoles in the U.S., but is also one of Oak Creek’s oldest businesses with a history dating back more than 100 years. Founded as Eder Manufacturing Co. in 1887 by seven brothers from the Eder family, the company originally produced pillows, felt pennants, rag dolls and hunting jackets.
These humble beginnings served as a springboard for the flag-making business which was launched and incorporated in 1903. During the Great Depression, a small staff of highly skilled sewers at Eder Flag began to handcraft U.S. flags, working in a plant filled with yards and yards of hand-cut red, white and blue cotton and silk material.
Over time, as Eder Flag added to its product line with many different types of flags, flagpoles and accessories, the company built its reputation as a provider of quality materials, superior craftsmanship and excellent customer service. Along the way, Morris Eder, one of the seven original founders, shared his passion for the flag-making business with his son, Eugene. Not surprisingly, it was Eugene who acquired Eder Flag Manufacturing Co. in 1957 after he had served a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy on the USS Bronstein during World War II, and earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He proudly led the growing business for more than 50 years. In 1979, the company moved from Downtown Milwaukee to Oak Creek.
Even though Eugene Eder’s business practices were quiet and unassuming, his personality was larger than life. This helped him to attract and grow a solid, long-tenured team of dedicated employees. It was – and still is today – not uncommon for employees to stay with the company for 15, 20 and sometimes even 30 years.
The Oak Creek facility eventually grew to capacity, and led to expansion to neighboring warehouses and production facilities. A distribution center in Orlando, Florida, was added to better serve customers in the southeast.
Chief Operating Officer Jodi Goglio points out how Eder purchased surrounding land in Oak Creek in order to expand, and how he “always treated staff with the utmost respect, recognizing the value of every employee, no matter what their position.”
“Mr. Eder was a visionary,” Goglio says. “He was always thinking ahead for ways to grow the company, while still maintaining its quality standards.”
Indeed, Eder Flag Manufacturing Company has stood the test of time for more than three generations. In 2008 when Eugene Eder passed away, the company was left in a trust, now managed by Goglio and Chief Financial Officer Tim Ksobiech. Goglio has worked for the company for more than 28 years (starting in the office in high school).
Today, Eder Flag serves more than five thousand wholesale customers and sells more than 20,000 different products. According to Goglio, Eder Flag’s staff is comprised of a wide cross section of ethnic diversity. “We’re proud to hire people from many ethnic backgrounds, and there are currently seven languages spoken in our plant including Spanish, Serbian, Albanian and Hmong,” she explains. “Our employees are the lifeblood of the organization and we work together as a team to produce the very best possible products,” Goglio adds. The company continually recognizes its staff in a number of ways, including Employee Appreciation Days that are held several times a year. Staff receive a complimentary lunch, enjoy entertainment and raffle prizes, and this year receive an afternoon off work with pay.
Aside from the manufacturing of U.S. flags, Eder Flag also manufactures military flags, religious flags, state flags, college/university flags, and celebratory and specialty flags. The company also produces flags for other countries throughout the world and offers a variety of accessories, including brackets, flagpole holders, lapel pins, decals and embroidered patches. “If you ask anyone in America where they want their U.S. flag produced, they will say the “United States, of course,” Goglio states with a smile.
Eder Flag has been headquartered in Oak Creek for almost 40 years, and plans to keep it that way. “We settled our roots in Oak Creek in the late 1970s and absolutely love it here,” explains Goglio. “Mr. Eder strategically chose this location with company and community growth in mind, including easy access to the highway, a safe and beautiful community, a pool of hardworking individuals that apply for positions, and local government and businesses with whom to build positive, long-term relationships.”
“I cannot overstate how proud we are to continue Mr. Eder’s legacy,” she shares. “It is an honor to continue to weave rich history into our future while advancing the company.”
Thanks to Eder Flag Manufacturing for its long-term commitment to the City of Oak Creek. To purchase an Eder-manufactured flag or flagpole, please visit The Flag Center at 7020 S. 13th St. in Oak Creek (414-856-0040).
Eder Flag Manufacturing Company, Inc. 1000 W. Rawson Ave., Oak Creek 414-764-3522 • ederflag.com