It started with Wal-Mart on Monday as the giant retailer announced it was taking steps to remove all Confederate flag merchandise from their stores and their online marketplace.
“We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer,” Wal-Mart said in a statement.
By midday Tuesday, eBay, Etsy, Target, Spencer Gifts and Sears Holding Corp. also had announced they no longer would sell merchandise featuring the Confederate flag, which eBay called a “contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.”
Dylann Roof, accused in the slayings of nine church members at their Bible study in Charleston, is an avowed white supremacist pictured on a website holding a Confederate flag. The discovery of the site, linked to Roof, is one of the factors that has led to calls to remove the flag from the Statehouse grounds by South Carolina leaders.
As more businesses started pulling the products from their shelves, customers flocked to Amazon, where the top-selling Dixie flag was up in sales more than 3,000 percent overnight. Shortly after, an Amazon spokesman announced that the company, too, would pull the merchandise and halt all sales.
Closer to home, Dixie Outfitters in Summerville is devoted to selling Confederate flag merchandise. Flip-flops, shot glasses and T-shirt after T-shirt bear the diagonal stripes of the rebel flag.
“I’m glad to see y’all still got the flag up,” a hurried customer said Tuesday as she burst through the doors of the modest-sized strip mall shop on North Main Street.
On the right of the store’s door flies an American flag. To the left hangs a Confederate flag. “You ain’t going to freak out and move, are you?” the woman asked.
The clerk assured her that the store isn’t going anywhere. Dixie Outfitters, the “Southern heritage” store on Summerville’s Main Street, has continued to sell Confederate merchandise, despite the ongoing controversy.
The clerk and owner declined to answer any questions from The Post and Courier about the store and its products.
Confederate flags may become harder to find as the existing stock is purchased or pulled from shelves. The Valley Forge Flag Co., based in Wyomissing, Pa., has chosen to stop manufacturing the flags, too, not wishing “to do anything that causes pain or disunity for people.”
Valley Forge Vice President Reggie VandenBosch, who also heads the Flag Manufacturers Association of America, said other flagmakers might stop manufacturing the Confederate flag as well.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.