A flag waving success story

On November 15, 2012, in Latest News, by The News Staff

Ward 4 Alderman Tony Lafuente has made a huge success of his flag and banner business, Flagraphics.

By Max Sullivan

If you need a banner, flag or awning that is going to last, Somerville’s Ward 4 Alderman Tony Lafuente is your man.

For the last thirty years, everyone from the Rouse Company to the Boston Red Sox and Celtics has called up his Somerville based flag and banner business, Flagraphics, when they needed a textile.

For Lafuente, having that kind of trust is an honor.

“To be looked at by such large clients, even over the years, to have that trust, and confidence, that you can do what you have to do, and you can do it on time, and the quality is good,” Lafuente said, “It says a lot about the company. We’ve always been looked at as that.”

Lafuente started the business back in 1982, after he had left his first job, another flag business in Cambridge, over a difference in visions. Then 24, Lafuente wanted to attack architectural businesses, but his boss at the time did not. Lafuente left and formed Flagraphics.

Business took off immediately. From the start, he formed a relationship with the Rouse Company, at the time a huge shopping mall corporation that was looking for textiles and banners for its new product in Boston, Faneuil Hall. Lafuente got the job. From that point on, he was in with the Rouse Company, and they called on him to create banners, flags, and awnings for the next six years.

Thirty years later, Flagraphics still stands, and Lafuente said it has mostly to do with the quality of the material his business uses in its banners. While some companies use foreign products, Flagraphics only uses American made materials, which Lafuente said are the best.

The high profile clientele of Flagraphics is proof of the quality and superior craftsmanship that goes into the work done by Flagraphics.

“What makes a good sign or a banner or an awning is really the way you manufacture it,” Lafuente said. “American textiles are the strongest, absolutely best industrial textiles in the world. So we don’t buy any foreign goods.”

If a snowstorm hits and tears an awning over a restaurant, or a business’s flag deteriorates after a rainy season, the company could get the axe. Lafuente makes sure the materials he uses are the best so that his customers know that he’s reliable.

Since those early days, his clientele has grown impressively. Not only do the Red Sox and Celtics trust Flagraphics with their championship banners, but so do the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and many other major businesses across the nation.

Since the business has opened, Flagraphics has grown steadily from a small store front business to what is now a 22,000 square foot facility. While they were once just a flag and banner business that sewed its products by hand, Lafuente’s business has snowballed to include awnings, canopies, digital textiles and graphics for car and bus wraps, metal signs and buildings. Lafuente’s done whatever he could to divert Flagraphics from “keeping their eggs in one basket.” His policy has been to put his hand in every part of his industry, both with products as well as geographically.

Stop in to Flagraphics at 30 Alston St in Somerville, or visit them online at www.flagraphics.com.

 

 

7 Responses to “A flag waving success story”

  1. Dan says:

    Remember back in the day when he “wouldn’t do business with the city” (his quote). Wow things have changed.

  2. Harry says:

    This is an ad, isn’t it? This sound a bit like a sweatshop!

  3. Annoyed says:

    I love people who pull “quotes” out of no where… Tony has had his business in the city for over 25 years, check your facts before you go around spreading lies.
    Also, sweatshop? are you serious… he just said all of his products are made out of USA made goods… this is the polar oppisite of a sweatshop… unlike a US Flag that you buy at Walmart or any other major retailer who actually uses real sweatshops in China… at least Tony is creating jobs instead of shipping them over seas!

  4. Mikey says:

    “Lafuente started the business back in 1982, after he had left his first job, another flag business in Cambridge, over a difference in visions.”

    he stole the idea and started the same company under a different name in Somerville…no wonder he became a politician.

  5. Really says:

    Maybe he should practice what he preaches. “we don’t but any foreign goods”!, he certainly only hires all immigrants and pays them slave wages. Max, do a full story of this business and not a fluff article.

  6. Harry says:

    Tony looks so happy here that it looks like some of his hair is regrowing! BTW, asbestos is a durable material to ensure the banners last a long time.

  7. j. connelly says:

    It is good to see companies using USA products in their manufacturing.
    Well now I know where to go for flags, if I can afford them under the mayor’s TSRTD (Tax Somerville Residents To Death) plan. BTW t.v. Inside Endition shows how you can make your own Twinkies.

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