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SK showing its colors

South Kitsap is turning red, white, blue — and yellow — as family members and concerned community members alike are proudly displaying their support for troops deployed to the Middle East with flags and bows. It’s a movement keeping at least one Port Orchard business happily scrambling to keep the yellow ribbon flowing.

Gary Rose, Jr., manager of Rose Crafts in South Kitsap Mall, said his customers responded almost immediately when workers displayed a big yellow bow on his store’s marquee two weeks ago.

“As a show of patriotism, we put it up on (March 28),” Rose said. “Five minutes later, one lady came in and said, ‘I want you to make me one.’ Then another came in, and another.”

Rose said he soon had one employee making the bows exclusively, but demand quickly escalated and three people began preparing the bows full-time.

“That Saturday morning, we made 60 bows in two hours, and sold them as soon as they were done,” Rose said. “We could hardly keep up, and then we ran out of ribbon.”

In less than a week, the store used up 18 bolts of yellow ribbon and sold 288 bows. Rose said in an effort to stay stocked with the ribbon he was paying for next-day shipments, but soon decided they were too expensive.

“It was killing us in freight costs,” Rose said.

Rose’s father, Gary Rose, Sr., who owns the store, said Rose Crafts is not making a profit on the bows, and only hopes to cover the costs of making them.

In fact, Rose, Sr., said he never intended to sell the bows when he first thought of making one and displaying it on the store. He only wanted to show his gratitude.

“I wanted to really show our appreciation for our troops and the sacrifices they’re making,” he said. “I watch the TV every night, and my heart goes out to all of them. I just feel grateful to all of them that they are out there.”

Rose, Sr., said he has also hung a “prayer line” outside his store, a rope tied with thinner yellow ribbons, just thick enough to write the name of a deployed soldier on. Anyone who wants to can ask to write a name on a piece of ribbon and add it to the line for free, he said.

“My wife and I pray over it every night,” Rose Sr. said. “My son-in-law is going to be deployed. He’s in North Carolina now, but he’ll be going over soon.

“But just living in a military town, you’re going to be touched,” he added. “We had a woman come in who had just lost a loved one, and we tied some purple ribbon around the bow for her.”

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