Artie Schaller III can't go anywhere without noticing flags.
Just ask his wife, Liz.
"Flags and The National Flag Company have given me everything in life from the day I was born," Artie '04, the general manager at National Flag, said.
Shelter. Food. Clothing. Education.
"Now the family business is providing the same things to my own family. My wife and I have a 17-month-old, Arthur Schaller IV," Artie said.
The Schaller family has had someone working at National Flag since 1903 and if you've seen a flag flying in the area, chances are that the Schallers and National Flag got it there.
Artie's great-great uncle, George Schaller, started at the age of 12 and worked for 73 years before hiring Artie's grandfather, Art Sr., in 1948. Artie's dad, Art Jr. '79, started full time in 1979 and Artie began his career at the historic company in 2008.
"The Schaller's have been making flags for 116 years now and I am very proud of that," Artie said.
Art Jr. started working full time at The National Flag immediately after graduating from La Salle in June of 1979.
"I always felt privileged to work with my father and hopefully my son feels the same," Art Jr. said. "One of my dad's best of many quotes was, 'If you take care of the company, the company will take care of you.'
"Little did I realize that 40 years later, I would be presiding over and leading the company, into its 150th year of operation. I feel truly blessed and fortunate to be given this opportunity and I am quite thankful to the Good Lord, my father, Art Schaller Sr., and all National Flag Employees, past, present, and future."
The Schaller name and The National Flag Co. are synonymous.
"Someone told me early in my career that the name Art Schaller is one of the most respected names in the industry," Art Jr. said. "Hopefully, I've upheld that legacy and I pray that
Artie III does the same."
National Flag is highlighting that legacy this year with several celebrations of the company's 150th anniversary.
- They created a mini-museum in the office to commemorate 150 years featuring original documents from the 1870s, pin flags of Theodore Roosevelt, and old photographs from the early 1900's.
- They will host the National Independent Flag Dealers Association conference in Cincinnati this year, bringing in flag dealers from all over the country to tour the factory and city.
"We are doing a lot to get our name out there," Artie said. "We've been called one of Cincinnati's best kept secrets and hopefully turning 150 can change that. This year is a time to celebrate our company's long and unique history."
But you can't celebrate National Flag's unique history without recognizing the family that's been behind it for more than a century and the Schallers have been part of the La Salle family for decades.
"It takes knowledge and an unfailing work ethic to run a small business," Art Jr. said. "Since I did not attend college, I have to attribute part of my success to my Lasallian education. You are molded by your family and friends, and I believe I was sent to La Salle to make sure the kids I befriended were good people. They were and still are to this day."
Artie was the latest Schaller to go from the halls of La Salle to the National Flag Company and he has benefited immensely.
"Being a Lancer has opened up networking and business opportunities," Artie said. "Guys that I might not have been best friends with 15 years ago, I see in the business world and we already have that brotherhood connection. A sense of trust is already there.
"The biggest impact from La Salle are those guys that became lifelong friends. We still tell stories of the days 15 years ago."
Artie was part of the Lancer baseball coaching staff from 2009 -2012.
"I didn't know being back at La Salle and putting on the Lancer gear everyday would be so meaningful," Artie said. "It felt great to give a little back to La Salle like the teachers and coaches had done for me. We were also able to donate two flagpoles to La Salle — the new one at the Veterans Memorial and one at the baseball field."
National Flag employs other Lancers as well, including Vice President of Sales, John Rosiello '79.
Whether it's a U.S. flag or a custom logo, pride in country or pride in your organization, there is meaning behind every flag National Flag produces.
"People count on us to produce top quality flags and banners that will fly high for all to see," Artie said.
Without a doubt, the Schallers are going to strive to maintain that foundation and reputation as National Flag enters its next 150 years.