Cashing in on Confederate Controversy

T-shirts, flags and decals for sale.
Sal's T-Shirt Shop in Gulf Breeze is cashing in on controversy.

A rebel with a cause.

“I am a rebel. I am a southerner, born and raised in Beaumont, Texas.” That rebel spirit can be seen throughout Becky Serio’s T-Shirt shop.

While most retail stores are removing anything confederate from their shelves, “It’s really helped my business,” she is stocking up. The confederate battle flag is big business.

“I’m shipping all over the United States. A lot of northerners are coming in here and just because we’re being taken away another right they say its unjust and we need to stand up for our rights and we need to support the confederate flag,” says Serio.

Sal’s T-shirt Shop has been in business for forty years and is one of only a few stores where the rebel banner is still sold.

The Howell family from Louisville, Kentucky went out of their way to make a stop. A flag, a couple decals and a t-shirt or two later, Jimmy Howell says it’s important to take a stand. “It’s not because really that big of a deal in Louisville, but it is a big deal if you are an American.”

Keeping up with demand is the biggest challenge for now. “We are all having to import them from China,” says Serio. “So instead of our money staying in America it is in China.”

History or heritage, a symbol of hate or oppression, the battle flag is many things to many people but Serio believes there is a bigger issue. “What is going to be taken away from us next.”

Serio said her sales remain strong and she has not received any backlash for selling the merchandise. In fact, it has been just the opposite with customers commending her for keeping the merchandise available.

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