Flag Them Down



What does the Canadian Flag mean to you ? Does it make you feel proud, secure and safe ? How about this ; ..does it make you do something when you had no intention of doing …like shopping ? I for one, believe it sometimes does. You see, marketing and advertising can affect you in the most profound ways from the CONSCIOUS (sub) to the SUBCONSCIOUS (liminal). Because we live in a border community, I believe it is necessary that we start utilizing anything we can to bring about the most potential in our economy. Having said this, I have always known that marketing can be successful if you appeal to ones pride, and what better way than to dangle a flag in front of them.

One of the reasons our friends to the south generally prosper, is because of their loyalty to their country. From Charlevoix to the Big Apple, you will be inundated with signs of patriotism and more times than not, they are in the form 50 stars and 13 stripes. You will see Old Glory in windows, on flag poles, on T-shirts, on Campbell soup packaging etc, ..it never ends. The bottom line is this ; If there are two products side by side, and one stands out because of some sort of symbolism of the American flag……….we both know which one will get purchased. Sales and marketing in a nutshell are geared towards our emotions,…. and pride is one of them.

I can support this with my own personal example ; a few years ago, I was on the Pacific coast of Mexico with my daughter Ashley, and down the road from our hotel was a cantina called Barchelata Beer Bar. We had walked by on a day trip to do some shopping and I noticed a Canadian flag on the outside of the window. I also noticed a sign stating that they were broadcasting the NHL playoff games the following night, and a sandwich board advertised Canadian food/drink specials. The next night, I really had no choice but to mosey on over and watch the game while enjoying some Canuck grub (Mac & Cheese). I enjoyed speaking with the owner who was a savvy American with forward thinking. He knew what would bring us in. By game time, the bar was filled with Canadians. Need I say anymore ?

Living on a border community, I believe we have to start drowning our businesses with Canadian and American Flags. Americans are very loyal and will trample over their own grandmother to get to one. If that one happens to be in front of your business, I can guarantee you the your capital will increase.

I was speaking with a friend of mine the other day, and I suggested that his wife put an American flag outside her coffee shop (Q Cafe & Eatery) this summer as per my marketing prowess/hunch. Sue’s cafe is already booming and I believe it is because of her aggressive marketing style. I guess he sold her on the idea as Antonios tells me that she is currently Canadian & American flag shopping. When the Americans tourists start soldiering down Queen St this summer, they will no doubt be drawn to Q Cafe & Eatery for fine food and fresh coffee…………… That’s Q Cafe & Eatery, 472 Queen St East. !!…….lame plug intended.

Let’s speak about the Canadian flag for a minute ; I believe the Agawa Canyon train station should get another big flag like the one they had before. They should even invest in one that is as big as the flag that was at the Husky East for years….That thing must have been 50 ft X 20 ft. This puppy when erected, would be visible from the international bridge and let our friends know how proud we are as a nation. It would also act as a homing beacon for directions to the train station and hotels. I know first hand how difficult it is for them to navigate our one way streets. I am sure they would appreciate not driving in circles. I would also suggest that a smaller American flag be hung beside ours to show that we appreciate their business and welcome their friendship.

Speaking of the International bridge, I am surprised a couple flags aren’t flying high at Rednecks (formerly The Nicolet). It is the first establishment as Americans disembark off the bridge. After a long drive, I’m sure a friendly invitation for a cold Canadian beer would hit the spot……………..but you have to get their attention first !

Our friend Reggie (Reggies Bar & Grill) knows what he is doing. He is proudly flying a couple Canadian flags above his downtown business and has been successful for many years. I believe his attention to detail and forward thinking is responsible.

In other Flag News, I just read that another border community is going above and beyond the call of duty with the flag theme. Windsor, the Memorial Cup Champions city, are awaiting the arrival of a HUGE Canadian flag to proudly raise and fly high. They will have it erected before the end of the month, just in time for Canada Day and our 150th ! The flag and flag pole measure an impressive 60 ft X 30 ft. This is no small feet and its’ returns, culturally and economically, will not be small either.

Wrapping things up this week, I don’t claim to be a prophet and I’m not saying that flying flags will solve all problems and dilemmas ; I am just saying that little things do “mean a lot” and progress happens one baby step at at time. So if you are a local business (especially Downtown), check out who’s in your neighborhood and Flag Them Down.

To the Fathers out there , Happy Fathers Day !!
To everyone else , Thanks for Watching !!

Ernest Skinner
Ernest Skinner was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie and attended Humber College after high school. He has a passion for other cultures and has traveled throughout Mexico and many South American countries.. He has written many articles over the years that deal with events happening here in Sault Ste. Marie. Reading about ancient civilizations, world politics, and mysteries of the unknown are also defining factors that are his general makeup. Outside of being serious, he has a bright sense of humor that was molded from shows like Seinfeld to The Simpsons. Ernest is a SaultOnline.com columnist


  1. Senor, Ernesto,
    I thoroughly enjoy your column. Your comments and insights are always enjoyable. Barchelata Beer Bar, been there, in Bucerias, Nayarit.
    I have been here in Mexico for many years enjoying the sun. Como dicen los Mexicanos, Que Padre !

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