Lifestyle, News

Lynn flagmaker continues his patriotic tradition

Edwin Young, owner of Young & Co., Inc., has been making flags and banners in his Lynn shop since 1983. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — He once sewed a 34-star Fort Sumter commemorative flag. He has outfitted yachts with little flags called burgees and private signals, and he didn’t let Gerard Geffrard leave empty handed when the building engineer came to Edwin Young’s shop last week looking for an American flag.

“I make thousands of flags a year,” he said.

The owner of the business that bears his name has stitched and sewn in a second-floor shop at 520 Washington St. near the overhead commuter track since 1983. He works alone, although he has hired as many as five employees in the past, aided by a battery of industrial-strength Singer sewing machines.

Young learned to sail as a boy in Cohasset and he lives with his wife, Annie Dellapenna, in a 34-foot sailboat docked at Boston’s Constitution Marina.

He knows what nautical customers want when they order one of his small, triangular customized flags for their vessels. He makes the burgees and private signals out of sturdy nylon sewn with polyester thread, but his sales also include flags ordered by government agencies, orders from veterans, and American flags like the four by six-foot flag Geffrard bought to fly in front of one of his business client’s buildings.

“Soldiers are my best customers,” he said.

Young’s business is a space filled with cutting and gluing tables, cubbyholes stocked with rolls of material, and samples of his creations hanging from the walls. Rock and roll plays on the radio and a well-stocked coffee machine keeps him fueled on early mornings or when he’s burning the midnight oil.

He works off paper designs for flags and banners with his only nod to technology a scanner that ensures he can exactly replicate a design. Four of the Singer machines are typically involved in creating a flag with a double-needle stitching machine handling some of the work and another Singer specializing in zig-zag patterns.

Young relies on a sharp eye for detail and a steady hand to sew and glue his creations.

“It’s all in the figuring-it-out and the cutting,” he said.

Inside the Young & Co. shop

Edwin Young, owner of Young & Co., Inc., digs through his shelves looking for an American flag for a client.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

A detail shot of a burgee for a local yacht club.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

Pieces of farbrc that will be turned into flags and banners at Young & Co., Inc., in Lynn.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

One of the Singer sewing machines that Edwin Young uses when making his flags.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

The process of scaling a burgee, a flag hung from a yacht which is used to identify the crafts club, starts with a print out before applying math to achieve the correct dimensions.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

Rolls of fabric that will be turned into flags and banners at Young & Co., Inc., in Lynn.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

A welcome flag hangs in the entrance of Young & Co., Inc., in Lynn.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

Edwin Young, owner of Young & Co., Inc., works on a burgee, a flag hung from a yacht which is used to identify the crafts club, for a local yacht club.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

Flags created by Edwin Young, owner of Young & Co., Inc., hang on the shop's wall.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

Rolls of fabric that will be turned into flags and banners at Young & Co., Inc., in Lynn.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Inside the Young & Co. shop

A newly completed burgee for Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

A former cardboard box salesman, Young became a flagmaker to help out a friend who planned to import an order of marine flags to take to a boat show in Miami. One thing led to another and Young found himself scrambling to book and fill orders. He worked two jobs for five years before deciding to become a full-time flag maker.

Many of Young’s former employees are retired and his three children haven’t chosen flag making as a career. He said the amount of time it takes to train a competent stitcher and cutter discourages him from hiring new workers.  But going it alone doesn’t mean he is going to retire soon.

“I’m not trying to get new business but it keeps coming,” said Young.

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