Old Glory & More at The Pennant Shop
Whether it was the plucky seamstress Betsy Ross or Francis Hopkinson, who requested a quarter cask of wine for his version, the American Flag remains our symbol of hope, freedom and perseverance.
According to WalletHub, a personal finance website, 64 percent of Americans own an American flag. Last year American flag manufacturers produced more than $300 million worth of American flags and banners.
One of the largest manufacturers of Old Glory is Annin Flagmakers, a 6th generation family-owned and operated company. Annin supplied the flags for the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln in 1861, along with the flag that draped his casket four years later.
Locally, The Pennant Shop on Metairie Road is one of the area’s authorized Annin retailers. John and Clara Matranga started this family business in 1932. It operated on Baronne Street during the heart of the Depression. Jack and Cheryl Matranga now own it and the store is still going strong; 74-year-old Jack Matranga has never worked anywhere else.
The store began sewing curtains and doing embroidery but it soon started creating flags and pennants. The business continued to expand and, during WWII, it specialized in military “code flags.”
“One of our company’s proudest times was during World War II,” says Cheryl Matranga. “Every ship leaving this port flew one our flags.”
Today the business makes bureau flags for Jefferson Parish, the City of Kenner and the New Orleans Police Department, to name a few. They even made the flag for the Pope Mobile during his holiness’1987 visit. They sell windsocks, promotional and rainbow flags, plus all the poles and hardware one needs to proudly fly them. They also manufacture custom chenille lettering and emblems.
“We are very proud of our custom hand-cut appliqué and chain stitch embroidery flags,” Cheryl Matranga says. “My husband is an artist with a sewing machine. We still pin, iron and seam in-house. Many of the items we sell are totally handmade in our store.”
A big part of the Pennant Shop’s business centers around flags, banners and decorations made specifically for Carnival season; They make almost all of the king and queen flags in the city.
“In this era when we are in competition with the whole world and yet we remain open and ready for business,” she says. “we are so proud of what we do.”
On the store’s Facebook page, Cheryl Matranga posted the following regarding this week’s July 4th celebration: “Happy Birthday America, We are so proud of our country, a land both beautiful and built on a constitution where all are created equal. God bless America and all the hope our country provides for each of us. We are privileged to be born under the flag of the greatest country in the history of the world.”
Happy Fourth of July!
The Pennant Shop
2908 Metairie Rd
Metairie, Louisiana 70001