February 11, 2022
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, recognized Cruise Customs of Shepherdsville, Kentucky, as the Senate Small Business of the Week.

Dr. Paul entered the following into the Congressional Record:

Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, each week I recognize an outstanding Kentucky small business that exemplifies the American entrepreneurial spirit. This week, it is my privilege to recognize the small business, Cruise Customs of Shepherdsville, Kentucky, as the Senate Small Business of the Week. 

It is not every week that I have the privilege of honoring a veteran-owned small business, but when I do, it is with profound respect and gratitude not only for this Kentucky entrepreneur, but for our men and women in uniform. Cruise Customs was started by Chris Cruise, a veteran paratrooper who served in the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After serving his country, like many veterans Chris Cruise returned to the U.S. carrying with him the traumas of war. Woodworking became a sort of therapy for him, and he combined that passion for working with his hands with his deeply-rooted patriotism, and founded Cruise Customs in 2017. 

Cruise Customs not only honors the great nation that we live in, it also pays tribute to the wonderful state of Kentucky. The idea behind his business came from Chris and his wife Amber’s desire to create something that honored both the nation that he fought for, and his wife’s native state. The final product was a large American flag constructed from the wood used in old Kentucky bourbon barrels. While bourbon-barrel flags continue to be their most popular item, the business has expanded their scope of products offered. The Cruise’s patriotic mission has remained at the heart of their business throughout its steady growth, as they broadened their service to the veteran community and to their local area when Cruise Customs’ unique craftsmanship gained national recognition. 

The whole Cruise Customs team use their dedication for service as inspiration for designing new products. These days, one can buy Chris’ signature bourbon-barrel flag not only in a variety of sizes, one can also find various flags with a different colored stripe running through the center of the flag. The colors symbolize the business’ support for various causes: blue, in honor of our nation’s police officers, red, to show their support for our nation’s fire fighters, pink, to spread breast cancer awareness and to champion its’ survivors. While these limited edition pieces stand out against their array of merchandise, the America “One Heartbeat” flag is perhaps their most impactful creation. 

Their America “One Heartbeat” flag, a limited edition piece displaying the EKG sign of a heartbeat down the center stripe, was designed by Chris and Amber Cruise during the early days of the pandemic. Always wanting to give back to their community, Cruise Customs donated all proceeds from the sale of their America “One Heartbeat” flags to the medical frontline heroes at Norton Healthcare and U of L Health in Louisville. This noble idea quickly gained national attention, which allowed Cruise Customs to sell over 4,500 of these flags and donate over $70,000 to their local medical community. 

Cruise Customs’ dedication to their community has not gone unnoticed. Last year Chris Cruise was named one of Louisville Business First’s Business Impact Award Nominees. Chris and Amber Cruise have also broadened their venture by opening and co-directing Kentucky’s first local chapter of USA Cares, a nonprofit dedicated to “providing military families with financial and advocacy support during their time of need.”  From serving his country, to founding a small business dedicated to giving back to the veteran community, Chris has consistently displayed a generous and patriotic spirit which permeates throughout his business and his family. Congratulations to Chris and Amber Cruise and the entire Cruise Customs team. I thank you for your brave service to this country and for your charitable spirit. I wish them the best of luck and look forward to watching their continued growth and success in Kentucky. 

As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Paul continues the tradition of honoring America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship oversees proposed legislation on matters relating to the Small Business Administration and investigates all problems relating to America’s small businesses.


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