BEACH LAKE— On a whim in mid-June, soon to be Founder and CEO of Grain to Glory Flag Co. Ryan Thumann noticed a discarded box spring slated for disposal and had an idea.
He decided to repurpose the salvaged wood into an American flag.
There wasn't much rhyme or reason to the design, Thumann explained, it just felt right to shape it as such.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, the powerful patriotic symbol, combined with his quality craftsmanship would resonate with people across the country, metamorphosing his artistic experiment into full-fledged business within the span of a few months.
Shortly after he posted the first flag on Facebook as nothing more than a showcase of his work, he began receiving requests from numerous friends and followers, said Thumann.
The more flags he made in the garage, the more visible he became to guests of his employer, the Central House Resort. They began ordering flags of their own from the hardworking handyman.
With some help from a friend, Thumann established his business and its corresponding website.
Thumann stated that “Grain to Glory” signifies each flag's individual story, coming not from cloth, but rather wood and transforming into the nation's symbol.
Sales only grew from there.
In the three months since he started, Thumann estimates he's crafted over 250 lumber flags, some of which have shipped as far as Florida, Texas, California and Arizona.
Thumann said he hopes to eventually have a flag in each of the 50 states.
“It's an honor to have something that I make with my hands hanging in someone's house,” he said.
Due to such influx of demand quickly exceeded the reliability of discarded box springs for lumber.
As such, Thumann began getting raw materials from Callicoon Supply or Estemerwalt Lumber.
“I try to keep it local,” said Thumann, attesting to the importance he finds in promoting family-run businesses.
From the time an order comes in, Thumann says it takes him roughly a week to produce a finished product while still working full-time at the Central House.
He cuts and shapes lumber for several flags at once, then paints them in an assembly-line fashion for efficiency.
At present, Thumann has several color variations available in three sizes.
This includes 2'x4', 3'x5' and 4'x8' sizes of standard flags called “Old Glory”, service flags honoring police and firefighters, a rustic, wood-burned only design he dubbed “The 1910,” and a red-hued flag he calls “The Antietam.”
Each flag is hand-crafted – from its formation to its painting – and sealed with Marine Polyurethane to ensure weatherproofing for exterior display.
Thumann has had several bulk orders for sale in larger retail stores. As this grows, he plans to install a “flag locator” on his website which will direct consumers to the nearest retail store should they wish to purchase one in person.
Thumann is confident demand will remain high and hopes to keep expanding into new areas.
“It's fun to do,” he explained.
One of Thumann's favorite aspects of running Grain to Glory Flag Co. is the face-to-face encounters with his customers.
“Just the joy of shaking their hand and them seeing the flag … is nice,” he said.
In summarizing his company's goals, Thumann stated, “I'm not just selling a ... flag, it's a lifestyle.”
Grain to Glory Flag Co. is active on Facebook and Twitter, as well as its own website, www.graintoglory.com.
Pricing is available online and orders are taken through the website.
Recently, Grain to Glory Flag Co. partnered with the United Way to donate ten percent of every flag purchased in September to relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.