Even if a commission completes its work design of a new state flag, a store in central Minnesota is selling the current flag at a brisk pace.
Coil’s Flags and Flagpoles in St. Cloud sells all things flag: American flags, military and veteran flags, police and fire flags. But the hardware store’s owner, Tim Coil, said he can’t keep the current Minnesota state flag in stock.
“It had been about two or three months since they started talking about it,” Coil said. “People started to panic. They wanted to make sure they could get their hands on the current flag before it disappeared. »
Business really picked up after Coil gave a few interviews on local radio stations. He had 150 state flags delivered Tuesday of last week. By 1 p.m. Friday, they were exhausted.
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“People come in and buy flags for Christmas gifts,” Coil said. “To everyone who came in, I said, ‘How many Minnesota flags do you want?’ They looked at me and smiled. Because I knew why they were there.
The store is sold without the current state flag. Coil said he expects to receive more in the week of Jan. 8. Around 50 customers have already pre-ordered them.
Some people buy the flags as souvenirs, Coil said. For others, it’s a kind of protest. They don’t like the new design and don’t think the old flag needs changing.
“I’ve had people tell me they’re buying them and buying stocks because they’re going to fly the current flag as long as they can,” Coil said. “They don’t even want to fly the new one.”
Minnesota’s original flag — the state seal on a blue background — drew criticism for its cluttered design and depiction of a Native American riding in the distance.
The legislature created a commission to redesign the flag and seal. Members of the State Emblem Redesign Commission completed their work this week, finalizing a report for the Minnesota Legislature.
The document describes the process used to choose a new state flag and seal over the past four months and the significance of the chosen designs.
Secretary of State Steve Simon said the panel should be satisfied with the outcome. And he proposed a celebration on statehood day — May 11 — during which the new flag and seal would replace the current ones.
“I think we really tried to center this around the audience and what was best for the audience,” Simon said. “We all tried, where we could, to put aside our personal tastes and preferences and think about what would suit the public and, in the end, we created two really strong, meaningful and enduring new emblems.”
But not everyone agreed. Republican lawmakers on the commission expressed concerns about the design of the seal and how the panel considered public comments.
“A lot of this process has been people not being listened to,” said Sen. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, noting he would raise his concerns in a separate report. “I know our goal in the minority report is for Minnesota to be heard and I and others will have that conversation next session.”
Drazkowski said he will introduce the new emblems next year when the Legislature reconvenes. He and others said Minnesotans should be able to vote on whether they should be kept in place.
As it stands, the new emblems will take effect in May unless lawmakers rescind them.
Coil said personally he is not thrilled with the new flag, which features a dark blue abstract shape of the state, a North Star and a light blue field representing water. But he said he’ll probably sell them once they become available.
“I have no choice but to do it. I’ll probably buy two or three,” he added with a laugh.
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