Mary Leavitt began selling “Old Glory” from the trunk of her car 25 years ago. Early on in her business, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a story about Mary in their mid-week magazine. The article, “Meet the Flag Lady,” gave Mary the name many call her today—The Flag Lady.
As Mary’s sales grew, she called the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for advice. The SBA referred Mary to a SCORE seminar on “How to Start a Small Business,” conducted by Jim Rinehart. Mary says, “I loved the presentation and I knew I was in the right place at the right time.”
Today, The Flag Lady’s Flag Store is the second largest distributor of American Flags in the United States.
Mary was also invited to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at an Ohio event attended by President George W. Bush. And, Laura Bush toured her flag business. Mary’s story is a testament to the American spirit of entrepreneurship and the service of SCORE volunteers.
Jim Rinehart encouraged Mary to develop a plan for her business. “I told Mr. Rinehart I didn’t know where I was heading, but I loved selling the flag,” Mary says. “He was very direct and believed in crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. Had it not been for SCORE and Mr. Rinehart, I don’t know where I’d be today.” Jim also assisted Mary with her financial records, short- and long-term planning and marketing.
Mary says, “I thank each of the countless numbers of volunteer mentors like Jim Rinehart, across the country. You are the ones who make sure that small businesses like mine stay strong. You give them the advice they need to succeed.”
Mary Leavitt says, “SCORE helped me make my start and I count on SCORE advice today as a sounding board for ideas.”