FlagHouse, Inc. is a supplier of equipment and programs for physical education, sports, fitness, recreation, and special needs audiences through catalogs and e-commerce options. They are a family-run business whose motto is “The Solutions You Need. The Source You Trust.”1
What began in 1954 as a company of booster and fund raising pennants and flag type items, began to shift to sport supplies when Monte Carmel became a partner in 1962.2 Over the next decade they supplied summer camps, public schools, and youth organizations with sport and recreation equipment through a mail-order catalog and direct sales.
By 1972 FlagHouse expanded their facilities and moved from the Greenwich Village area to the Flatiron district of New York City. Though they offered only sport and recreational equipment, they kept their name, FlagHouse, from their early days.
When the Education of the Handicapped Child Act passed in 1975, FlagHouse added the recreational needs of individuals with disabilities to their line of products. They created the catalog Exceptional Children & Adults, which later became the Special Populations Catalog, and eventually became the Giant Leaps catalog for children with special needs and the Going Strong catalog for adults with special needs.3
FlagHouse continued to supply physical education products to the public schools, and in 1978, they created a catalog, Sports & Play, specifically for Kindergarten through 8th grade recreational needs.
The 1980s brought more company changes: Monte's son, George joined the company in 1985 and the company moved to a 50,000 square foot distribution center just north of New York City in Mount Vernon, New York.4 Seven years later in 1992, they expanded into Canada through their FlagHouse Canada division located in Toronto, and they added a 30,000 square foot warehouse in Yonkers, New York.
In 1992, FlagHouse furthered their offerings for the special needs populace by becoming the North American distributor of SNOEZELEN, multi-sensory environments for those with cognitive and physical disabilities.5 They also partnered with G&S Smirthwaite to be their North American distributor of positioning and conductive education furniture for children and adults with special needs.
Monte's son, Douglas, joined the company in 1996, just as they were relocating to new headquarters in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Two years later, Monte retired, leaving the leadership of FlagHouse to his two sons, George and Douglas.
At the turn of the century the company grew as their focus expanded to include sports and recreation equipment, the educational and recreational needs of children and adults with disabilities, and children's health and wellness. In 1999, in conjunction with Eric Malmberg, they developed KiDnastics, a physical education program which provides an alternative to stunt gymnastics. That same year they also hosted the SNOEZELEN World Congress in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
In 1998, FlagHouse obtained the marketing and distribution rights to CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), a child wellness program which involves a physical fitness program, nutritional guidance, and the prevention of tobacco use habits.6 They also partnered with the University of Texas to continue CATCH research and development.
In the twentieth century, FlagHouse continued to focus on these three arenas. In 2002, they collaborated with Project Adventure, a company with experiential education options that are cooperative and adventure-based. Six years later they partnered with The Education Company, which provides support for teachers' professional development through seminars, books, and equipment. In the meantime in 2005, they became the official physical education equipment supplier to one of the largest public school systems in America, the New York City Department of Education.
As partners with American Association of Adapted Sports (AAASP) in 2003, FlagHouse began supporting Project ASPIRE, a competitive after school sports league for students with physical and visual limitations.7 Three years later in 2006, they partnered with Special Olympics to supply equipment for their Young Athletes Program, a program to assist children with physical challenges develop basic skills toward future sport participation.
Through its involvement with SNOEZELEN, FlagHouse further developed its interest in the special needs of those with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). This led them to launch their Sensory Solutions catalog in 2006 with sensory-related products, including the SNOEZELEN line. Two years later they introduced SNOEZELENinfo.com, an online resource on the importance of a multi-sensory environment for those with disabilities. That same year in 2008, they created an e-store for The SPD Foundation to support the Foundation's research, education programs, and advocacy for the needs of those with SPD.
Concerning those with cognitive and physical disabilities, in 2008, FlagHouse began supporting GestureTek, a leader in camera-enabled gesture recognition technology. The following year they began working with the Autism Society of America to provide supportive sensory resources. To showcase all of these options and resources for parents of children with special needs, FlagHouse launched the website Yellow Brick Road Shop.com in 2009.
In 2006, CATCH received the Secretary's Innovation and Prevention Award from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.8 Over the next two years, FlagHouse supported CATCH with launching CATCHinfo.org in 2007 and CATCH magazine in 2008. Extending the program to children aged 3-5, they introduced the CATCH Early Childhood (CEC) program in 2009. And, in 2011, FlagHouse announced its partnership with Jared Fogle, spokesperson for SUBWAY® sandwich shops and founder of the Jared Foundation, to promote the CATCH Program to help prevent childhood obesity.
Besides the catalogs, websites, and CATCH magazine that focus on the health needs and physical activity equipment for preschoolers, school-aged children, and children with special needs, FlagHouse also has a Playground Solutions catalog.9 This has extended their product line beyond sports and sensory equipment to include playground equipment and play space amenity products.
- 1. “Our Mission.” FlagHouse. < http://www.flaghouse.com/Athletic-aboutus.asp > 26 Jan. 2012.
- 2. “Our History and Timeline.” FlagHouse. < http://www.flaghouse.com/Athletic-aboutus.asp > 26 Jan. 2012.
- 3. “FlagHouse.” FlagHouse. < http://www.flaghouse.com/ > 8 Feb. 2012.
- 4. Op.cit., “Our History and Timeline.”
- 5. Op.cit., “FlagHouse.”
- 6. “What's CATCH?” CATCH. < http://catchinfo.org/whats-catch/ > 8 Feb. 2012.
- 7. Op.cit., “Our History and Timeline.”
- 8. Op.cit., “Our History and Timeline.”
- 9. Op.cit., “FlagHouse.”