The blue and yellow of Ukraine’s flag is billowing around America.
A Long Island flag textile executive said that requests for Ukraine’s colors have spiked in parallel with suffering of the country’s civilian population.
Mike Glaser, whose Huntington-based Glaser Mills processes fabric for flag manufacturers nationwide, said that demand has more than tripled — to 18,000 linear yard of Ukraine colors from Feb. 23 to March 9 compared with 5,000 for the same period last year — since Russian army columns rumbled across the Ukraine border.
“We are not seeing a reduction, only an increase in demand and I’m not sure when it will end,” he said. “People are going out to protests. We’re already seeing repeat orders from customers.”
In response to the humanitarian crisis, the family-owned company has agreed to match donations to a not-for-profit directed at Ukrainian causes.
Ordinarily, the company produces three to six months’ worth of flag fabric at a time and gradually uses up that supply, Glaser said, but the sudden upturn in Ukrainian blue and yellow is forcing more of a “just-in-time” approach to production.
In 2021, the company averaged sales of about 43,000 linear yards of red, white and blue fabric used in American flags, said Glaser, the company president.
A linear yard measures the length of an item, but can be any width.
Glaser Mills is a textile converter that sources fabric from mills in North Carolina and South Carolina and sends it to New Jersey for dyeing, finishing and warehousing.
Flag manufacturers in Skowhegan, Maine; Cincinnati, Ohio and elsewhere do the final cutting and stitching of the Ukraine flags, which have two equally sized horizontal banks of blue and yellow.
Glaser said the wartime struggles of Ukrainian civilians echoes the history of his family.
In 1938, Nazi mobs destroyed his family’s linen store along with other Jewish businesses in Germany during what came to be known as Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass.
“People living a normal life and, in a blink of an eye, it’s all gone,” said Roy Glaser, Mike Glaser’s father and former president of the company.
“We are all too familiar with the suffering and disruption caused by a war imposed upon innocent civilians,” said Mike Glaser.
After Kristallnacht, Roy Glaser’s father, Fred Glaser, then 22, escaped from Berlin to America via Sweden. In the 1960s, Fred Glaser founded Glaser Mills.
In cooperation with Flag Manufacturers Association of America, a trade group, Glaser Mills has launched a matching fund to aid Ukraine. The company has committed to match up to $15,000 in donations made to Razom Inc. https://razomforukraine.org, a not-for-profit that is distributing emergency medical supplies to Ukraine.
Donors can send a direct message to FMAA https://fmaa-usa.com/index.php, or tag @FMAA_USA on Instagram or Twitter or @FMAAUSA on Facebook with proof of their donation and a matching donation will be made by Glaser Mills.