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UNFURLING AMERICA'S COLORS

by Dave Friant





Symonds Flags and Poles, Inc. is a thriving business in Irving, Texas which has proudly flown its’ products for a half-century. Stephen Symonds is the 64-year-old owner/CEO who oversees all aspects of the 34-employee operation. Corporate sales of overwhelmingly American flags, as well as pole assemblies/installations, comprise approximately 90% of their transactions.

Companies such as Camping World, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Clay Cooley Auto Group, and an assortment of nationwide motorsport complexes make up the largest percentage of the corporate customer base. The remaining 10% is a growing portion of walk-in customers who primarily desire USA and Texas flags, poles, and assorted other products available in the sizeable showroom. That percentage has increased significantly in the last year. Symonds suggests the growth can be directly associated with “people coming back due to wanting to express their love of country.”

The unofficial origin of the operation began in Oklahoma City. It was 1969 and entrepreneur extraordinaire Charles Symonds was theoretically in retirement status at the age of 70. He was affectionally known as “Sy” and involved at the time with picture frame building. At the request of a widow neighbor whose prior military duty husband had died, “Sy” built her a flagpole for the purpose of displaying the American flag received in conjunction with the death. He did so and additionally built one for his own backyard. Such was the beginning of the Symonds Flags and Poles business. Maintained over the years has been his noteworthy phrase, “There should be a flagpole in everyone’s yard.”

Stephen at the age of 13 worked part-time for his grandfather during the summer months while still enrolled in junior high school. This lasted until 1971 at which point “Sy” and the operation moved its’ location to the DFW metroplex where his grandson resided. Stephen was the only employee working for the company until his grandfather’s death at 77 years of age in 1977.

Two of his three children periodically assist Stephen Symonds with the business. His 91-year-old father, H.N. Symonds, is still very much on top of his game and remains as an always available resource for opinions and advice. While recently becoming a great-grandad, Stephen continues to operate the business and provide favorable influences to the public and local entities.

The entire flag-making process takes place within the sizeable business building. The purchased red, white, and blue materials are elaborately stitched and sewn by a variety of skilled employees. Poles are additionally assembled and installed professionally for customers.

The American and Texas flags at the Clay Cooley dealerships measure 80’ x 40’ and are hoisted onto 150’ tall poles. Ross Perot had fifty Symonds flag poles installed on his property for each state of the union, and a flagpole was installed in 1978 on the property of a prominent Metroplex homeowner in conjunction with a gathering of dignitaries. The primary attendee was former President Jimmy Carter.

Symonds opted in the Spring of 2022 to produce many Ukrainian flags. World events formed the basis for that decision. All profits from sales are provided to a Ukrainian relief fund. In addition to American flags, two were hoisted and flown on both of his towering 130+ foot tall poles in front of the business. “The reactions were overwhelmingly positive,” indicates Symonds.

Prior to Easter, found Stephen hosting a gathering where two American flags and several custom-made Christian flags were hoisted in front of his business. In addition to myself, a few local dignitaries and 100 or so members of the public enjoyed the festivities. Emphasizing love of country, Symonds noted during the ceremony that for many, “prayer is the way to go.”

Stephen Symonds is a local businessman who combines his quest for bottom-line success with a very observable love of country. He’s committed to hard work, selling the stars and stripes symbol of freedom that we all should cherish, and promoting the values that encompasses such a privilege. When asked what thoughts he would like customers to have in conjunction with the business, Symonds indicated, “God bless America, and God bless Symonds Flags and Poles.”


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