San Diego-based Flag Pole Buddy came on the scene in 2004 with its rugged RV flag pole mounts, but only recently has the product started to attract dealer recognition. Late last fall, NTP Distribution and Camping World separately approached the Flag Pole Buddy principals – owner Dave Jahnz, and wife Christine Jahnz, who serves as president – and agreed to offer some of its products.
Since then, the company’s sales have been about 35 percent higher. To date, the company has sold more than 3,000 units of its flag pole mounting kits.
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The Flag Pole Buddy system mounts to an RV ladder, or is tapped or bolted to the back.
“The deal with NTP has definitely helped. People recognize it when they see it in RV stores,” Dave Jahnz told RV PRO.
While Flag Pole Buddy offers lightweight fiberglass flagpoles, flags, and pole lights, its key product is its durable flag mounts. The mounts, made out of "bullet-proof" fiberglass-filled nylon, attach to two spots on an RV ladder or the back of an RV. The bottom mount, a cup design, anchors the bottom of a flag pole, while the top mount holds the flag in place from atop the RV ladder.
Jahnz describes the top mount piece as a “twist mount” due to its appearance. The twist design allows the flag pole to support itself, as well as make it easy for an RVer to place and remove the flag pole without using locks or fasteners.
“The installation is pretty simple, depending on the ladder,” Jahnz said. “It could take anywhere from five to 10 minutes to install. Everything needed is included in the kit except for a 7/16 socket. There’s two nuts and eight Allen bolts that have to be tightened down by the consumer. Otherwise it mounts easy on the RV ladder.”
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The Flag Pole Buddy pole and mount kits include everything an installer needs, minus the tools. Image above shows a complete kit for a 16-foot poll and 1.5 inch diameter mount.
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Flag Pole Buddy bottom mount.
Upper "twist" mount.
The mounts come in three different diameters: 1 inch, 1.5 inch, and 2 inch.
The mount and pole system can withstand constant winds at 35 miles per hour and gusts up to 55 miles per hour, which Jahnz describes as a “conservative” estimate that the company gives its customers.
Perhaps the best selling point for the Flag Pole Buddy mount system is the lightweight mounts and poles. The flag poles, which come in 12-foot, 16-foot and 22-foot options, weigh 3.5 to 4 pounds and break down to 4-feet long when not in use. The mounts, which correlate in size to the flag pole width, come in diameters of 1 inch, 1.5 inches, and 2 inches. The pole and mount kits range from $99 to $134 on the company’s website.
“The product was meant to be light, because when you’re in an RV, you want everything to be lightweight and compact,” he said. “My demographics include a lot of retired and older RV folks. But even if they’re younger, you still want lightweight products on your RV, as well as compact and strong.”
Flag Pole Buddy is significantly up in sales this year compared to this time last year, Jahnz said. NTP and Camping World have contributed to the company’s recent success.
At the March 22-25 Good Sam rally in Phoenix, Flag Pole Buddy sold out of hundreds of units of its mount kits and flag lights.
“We had our own booth and products in the Camping World booth. We sold out of product at both booths,” Jahnz said. “Camping World is pretty happy with us so now they’re taking on the rest of our products.”
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Dave and Christine Jahnz (above) founded Flag Pole Buddy in 2004. NTP and Camping World recently agreed to offer the company's products.
Camping World originally offered only the 12-foot flag pole and mount kit by Flag Pole Buddy, but is currently in discussions with Jahnz at expanding its offering, he said.
Consumers have found useful applications for the mounts outside of RVing. People use the mounts on boats, to fly flags on their homes or fences, as well as to support ham radio antennas.
Flag Pole Buddy is constantly looking to refine its product, such as coming up with a better flag pole.
“I test a lot of different poles. So far, I can’t find one better than the one I have,” said Jahnz, who previously worked as an aerospace engineer before starting the company. “This year, we need to taper off some of the development activities. Instead of spending money on development and trying to get new products in here, I think we need to settle back and see where we’re at before we grow too much too fast.”
Jahnz sees potential for growth in other markets outside of the RV industry. The military, which flies flags and implements radio antennas, may find use for Flag Pole Buddy’s mounts.
“They need something that’s portable and quick,” he said. “They currently use a lot of wires and stuff like that. Maybe there’s an option there. I’m thinking about going in that direction.”
Click here to visit the Flag Pole Buddy website.