News Roundup: Week of Sept. 7 - Sept. 13 - Page 3 of 3

News Roundup: Week of Sept. 7 – Sept. 13

Ross Flags Inks Deal to Distribute MLK Flags


Dwayne and Maria Ross have successfully accomplished a task few businesses have been able to do: The couple has inked a deal with Intellectual Properties Management Inc., the exclusive licensor of the Martin Luther King Jr. estate, to manufacture and distribute a flag that carries the slain civil rights leader’s image.

“We’re only a handful of organizations licensed to use King’s image,” said Lori Ross, the couple’s sister-in-law and chief operations officer at Ross Flags and Design L.L.C.

The company initially applied for and was granted a temporary license in 2008, after being rejected years earlier. Having generated $63,000 in revenue after selling 2,000 flags, “IPM extended the licensing agreement for five years because we exceeded expectations,” Lori said.

The company projects revenue to reach $179,000 for its 2009-2010 fiscal year. Flag prices range between $34.99 and $139.99.

While the Rosses are working to get the flags distributed in retailers nationwide, they’ve found success selling the product at African American museums, and historically black colleges and universities, including Howard University and Florida A&M University.

“This flag is a constant visual reminder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision,” said company president, Maria Ross.  If we are to continue moving forward, we must go back and rediscover that Dr. King’s dedication to justice, peace, and brotherhood lies within each of us.”

The company is also looking into inking licensing deals to distribute flags with civil rights leaders of different ethnicities.

— Renita Burns