Stay Apparel Co.

An authentic American brand of place

Stay on display at Centric Bank

Community, AppearancesNeal GouletComment
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We aren’t selling there, but Stay has deposited itself at Centric Bank's Hummelstown branch for the whole of February.

Our six-foot table display, featuring a sampling of our tees, greets lobby patrons. In addition, the branch's staff is wearing our tees on two Fridays during the month.

We want to give a shout-out to assistant branch manager Amber Spotts for making our month-long visit possible and many thanks to the Centric team for supporting Stay and other local small-business customers.

We have seven tees available in unisex size 2XL

ProductsNeal GouletComment
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Here's some big news: In addition to unisex sizes small through XL, Stay now offers seven shirts in unisex size 2XL:

All of our tees are available on our website, but we also try to bring a deep selection to every pop-up event we attend. If you want to be certain that we have an item at a given appearance, please send us an email at hello@stayapparel.com at least one day ahead of time. We’ll do our best to accommodate any request.

Stay Apparel Co. featured on Happy Valley Hustle podcast

Appearances, BrandingNeal GouletComment
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We set the bar high early on at our first appearance at Pop Up Ave in downtown State College.

That’s where we were on the beautiful first day of fall, Sept. 22, 2018, setting up the Stay big top in preparation for the outdoor urban flea.

Penn State football coach James Franklin, fresh off the Nittany Lions’ rout of host Illinois the night before, already was up and at ’em before the Pop Up Ave’s official opening at 11 a.m.

He was our first customer.

Next in line was Bill Zimmerman, an affable event volunteer who in our limited exchange struck me as someone I’d enjoy chatting with again.

For me, that opportunity arose on Nov. 30, when I had the good fortune to sit down with Bill in State College for his podcast, “Happy Valley Hustle.”

In the introduction to each episode, Bill describes it as “the podcast that tells the stories of people running their own businesses, launching side hustles, and making the digital age work for them.”

Bill hails from Johnstown, Pa., which, as I explained on the podcast, has special meaning to me because the first professional hockey game I saw in person pitted my hometown Maine Nordiques against the visiting Johnstown Jets.

Like me, Bill has a newspaper reporting and public relations background. He’s currently a lecturer for the digital PR and PR, media and methods courses in Penn State's Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.

He’s also a big fan of professional wrestling, hence the Hustle’s prop championship belt that I got to pose with in the photo above.

I’m honored that Bill wanted to hear Stay’s story and to be the podcast’s first guest of 2019. I hope you’ll listen to my episode and check out the others. (I’m partial to episode six, which features Brad Groznik, who with his wife, Andrea, started Pop Up Ave.)

Before you do, however, I want to correct something I said on the podcast. At Bill’s request, I described our new tee, which bears a heart doodled two decades ago by novelist John Updike. I said that Updike was from Wyomissing, Berks County.

That’s close but incorrect. Updike grew up three miles south, in Shillington. In fact, a group is trying to preserve his boyhood home, at 117 Philadelphia Ave., anticipating a 2020 opening for public tours.

Thanks to Bill for inviting and interviewing; thanks to you for reading and listening.

That’s it for me. I have to keep hustling.

Tale of the tee: John Updike heart

ProductsNeal GouletComment
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Before he was a world-famous novelist, including the four-book “Rabbit” series, before he won Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards, Pennsylvania native John Updike was an aspiring cartoonist growing up in Shillington, Berks County.

As a 15-year-old, in 1948, he wrote a letter to Harold Gray, the creator of the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip. Four fawning paragraphs led to a final one:

“All this well-deserved praise is leading up to something, of course, and the catch is a rather big favor I want you to do for me. I need a picture to alleviate the blankness of one of my bedroom walls, and there is nothing that I would like better than a little momento [sic] of the comic strip I have followed closely for over a decade. So — could you possibly send me a little autographed sketch of Annie that you have done yourself? I realize that you probably have some printed cards you send to people like me, but could you maybe do just a quick sketch by yourself? Nothing fancy, just what you have done yourself. I [sic] you cannot do this (and I really wouldn’t blame you) will you send me anything you like, perhaps an original comic strip?”

Updike, who died 10 years ago this month, recalled in a 2004 article in The Guardian that Gray responded with "a drawing, possibly the standard photo he had on hand with a personal comment in a talk balloon."

‘Happy Valentine’s Day’

Fast forward to Feb. 14, 1996 — Valentine’s Day — and Updike was one month shy of his 64th birthday. The night before, he had spoken at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster and now he was on campus signing his new novel, “In the Beauty of the Lilies.” My girlfriend at the time waited in a long line with a copy of the book she would give to me.

Updike signed the title page: “for Neal Happy Valentine’s Day John Updike”

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But the cartoonist in him couldn’t resist, so he drew a heart with lace around it and an arrow cutting through.

Not only are the drawing and the story behind it compelling, but Updike’s ties to Berks County and the creation of the heart in Lancaster ring true to Stay’s focus on a sense of place.

That’s why we’ve reproduced the heart — in pink ink on red fabric — on the front of our first children’s sizes and our first women’s cut.

Concluding his request letter to Gray, 15-year-old Updike wrote: “Whatever I get will be appreciated, framed, and hung.”

He typed that letter on Jan. 2, 1948.

We’re introducing the Updike heart tee on that exact day, 71 years later. The heart he drew for me remains appreciated and now is, effectively, framed and hung on the front of our newest tees.






Thank you for being a part of Stay Apparel Co.'s first full year!

AppearancesNeal GouletComment
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Having launched Stay Apparel Co. in October 2017, we had only four public appearances under our belt when 2018 began. Besides continuing to push online sales, we had a modest goal of averaging at least two appearances per month.

But thanks to opportunities that we hadn’t anticipated, we got ahead of our projected pace in April and really took off in June. On the strength of a 13-week run at Market on Chocolate in Hershey, we achieved our goal by August.

And with a flurry of activity in December, including three dates when we were in two places at the same time, we participated in 47 events across 48 dates during the year.

We regularly attended the Harrisburg Flea, York Flea and Creatively Lancaster and even helped to start a makers market at the Cocoa Beanery in Hershey. On a brilliant first day of fall, we debuted at Pop Up Avenue in State College.

The stops were many and varied. We set up shop in Strawberry Square in Harrisburg and Central Market in York. We pitched our blue big top in the middle of Cocoa Avenue during Artfest in Hershey and in the westbound lane of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge for the Bridge Bust that overlooked the Susquehanna River.

We sold tees on the concourse at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster and at ice level of Hersheypark Arena. We brought our wheeled mannequin, purchased at a closing Bon-Ton in Camp Hill, to three Creatively Lancaster shows held on consecutive Saturdays within a closed Bon-Ton at Park City Center.

We had a few clunker shows in terms of sales, but then again, too few to mention. After all, every show, no matter how much or how little business we did, presented an opportunity to get Stay in front of people.

Unwavering commitment

We take a long-term view of customer relations. We know that just because someone doesn’t buy from us today doesn’t mean they won’t on another day.

I was vividly reminded of this at the York Flea on Dec. 1 when a man (with his wife and daughter) who had braved the rain that ultimately cut short that event told me that he had seen Stay at the Bridge Bust on Oct. 6. He had regretted not buying from us then, he said, and came to the York Flea specifically to see us. He purchased two tees and earned my eternal gratitude.

Our big takeaway from 2018 is that people are intrigued by the Stay name — “So what does Stay mean?” someone invariably asks — our products and our vibe.

We feel like we’re on to something, whether it’s because we only sell U.S.-made products, or because of our cool designs, or because we deliver great customer service. It’s difficult to pinpoint, but we’re unwavering in our commitment to all three.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to a fun, busy and successful first full year. We are eager to do even more in 2019.

We resolve to work even harder to earn repeat business and to welcome new faces, literally and figuratively, into the Stay tent.

Years ago, I coordinated a visit to Harrisburg by former Philadelphia Phillies star Tug McGraw. Even though he spilled a beer on my pant leg and didn’t apologize, I enjoyed the guy. In a TV interview, someone asked why he was at what was then RiverSide Stadium.

“If there’s a baseball game, the Tugger wants to be there,” the Tugger said.

Likewise, if someone invites Stay to set up a table or tent, we’ll make every effort to be there.

We have a pretty good idea where we want to be in 2019, but we’re entirely open to additional opportunities. If you have suggestions, please send them to hello@stayapparel.com.

In the meantime, we’re looking forward to our first appearance in the new year: Jan. 5 at the Harrisburg Flea, when we’ll debut a new design on our first women’s cut and children’s tees.

When shopping this holiday season, ask yourself: Is there an American-made option?

ProductsNeal GouletComment
Everything Stay sells is made in America, from Big Run, Pa., to Buffalo, from Lewiston, Maine to Milwaukee.

Everything Stay sells is made in America, from Big Run, Pa., to Buffalo, from Lewiston, Maine to Milwaukee.

Sara and I replaced the original 18-year-old garage doors on our home this fall. At the same time, we upgraded four antiquated exterior lights.

We searched online for U.S.-made lighting options, which proved limited. We relented and bought a set that, as I suspected, turned out to be made in China.

They were junk. The next day, I was at FedEx sending them back. I redoubled my search efforts and found Barn Light Electric Co. in Titusville, Fla.

Without the extra work, I wouldn’t have learned how Bryan and Donna Scott built the company out of a passion for old light fixtures; I wouldn’t know that Barn Light supports a work force of 80 people, including some recovering drug addicts; and we wouldn’t have four beautiful new lights proudly made in America.

Barn Light’s great story is that much better because it bucks the decades-long decline in American manufacturing. Even as recently as the 1990s, half of all clothing bought in the United States was made here. Today, it’s down to just 3 percent.

That staggering reversal of fortune has wreaked havoc on communities and families across the United States. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.

We as consumers have the power of our purses to demand American-made products. And there’s no brighter time, no righter time, than the holiday season.

Don’t let retailers off the hook

Holiday retail sales in November and December, according to the National Retail Federation, are expected to grow 4.3 percent to 4.8 percent, to between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion. That compares with an average 3.9 percent annual growth for the past five years.

Imagine the benefit to the U.S. economy if we devoted even a fraction of that projected increase to buying American. My challenge to consumers is to ask a simple question with each holiday purchase you make this year: Is this made in the USA?

If not, look for a similar product that is. And if not, ask why not. Don’t let retailers off the hook. Encourage them to rethink what they’re doing. If retailers hear enough clamor for American-made products, they just might work harder to offer them.

We spent nearly twice as much on the Barn Light sconces than we did on the imports we returned, but the former are more attractive and more durable than the latter. Getting good value and helping to employ fellow Americans can be sources of great satisfaction.

Simply looking out for sales or signing up for an email newsletter in exchange for a discount code are great ways to hedge against the sometimes higher costs for domestic goods.

A craft beer experience

Yet another strategy: choose quality over quantity, especially when gifting to adults. I’d rather receive one thoughtfully chosen U.S.-made gift with a good story behind it than a greater quantity of generic stuff made wherever the labor was cheapest.

The approach I’m suggesting isn’t unknown to American consumers. Every day they vote with their pocketbooks in favor of domestic craft beer, sales of which grew 5 percent in 2017 while overall beer sales fell 1 percent, according to the Brewers Association. A growing segment of the population yearns for the high quality, selection and sense of community that craft brewers deliver, even if it has to pay a little more for the product.

If you want craft beer type experience with a broader assortment of American-made consumer goods, then look no further than local makers. In our area, these talented crafters offer everything from candles and soaps to pottery and jewelry to home décor and leather goods at pop-up events put on by the likes of Harrisburg Flea, York Flea and Creatively Lancaster.

Doing the sometimes hard work of seeking U.S.-made products instills discipline and a sense of purpose. What’s more, buying American is a great way to add new meaning to the holiday season.

Checking our list: Here's where you'll find Stay Apparel this holiday season

AppearancesNeal GouletComment
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There’s no place like home for the holidays. And Stay Apparel is all about home, offering cool U.S.-made tees featuring our hometown of Hershey, as well as Harrisburg, York, Lititz, Lancaster, Philadelphia.

And for the man who’s headin' for Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie, we offer our mouth-watering Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful tee.

We’re gearing up for a big holiday season, packing the Stay sleigh full of awesome U.S.-made clothing and accessories perfect for all your gift-giving needs. And if you live in central Pennsylvania, you’ll find us popping up near your neck of the woods throughout November and December.

We love meeting customers in person, so come and Stay for a while with us (admission is free unless otherwise noted):

Nov. 3: Harrisburg Flea from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Strawberry Square, 320 Market St., Harrisburg.

Nov. 17: Central Market in York, 34 W. Philadelphia St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the community stand.

Nov. 24: Creatively Lancaster from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Spooky Nook Sports, 75 Champ Blvd., Manheim.

Dec. 1: Harrisburg Flea from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Strawberry Square, 320 Market St., Harrisburg.

Dec. 1: York Flea from noon to 5 p.m. in Cherry Lane Park, York.

Dec. 7: Downtown Hershey 2018 Holiday Market from 5 to 8 p.m. in ChocolateTown Square Park.

Dec. 7: Hockey Night in Hershey at Hersheypark Arena, premiere of the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society documentary, “B’ars to Bears: Hershey’s Hockey Dynasty.” (Admission fee)

Dec. 8: Creatively Lancaster from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the former Bon-Ton space at Park City Center.

Dec. 15: Creatively Lancaster from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the former Bon-Ton space at Park City Center.

Dec. 15: Central Market in York, 34 W. Philadelphia St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the community stand.

Dec. 22: Creatively Lancaster from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the former Bon-Ton space at Park City Center.

Of course, if you can’t come to us in person, we sell everything online and offer fast, affordable shipping ($5 per order, free for purchases of $75 or more in the contiguous United States).

You'll also find a limited selection of Stay items at these fine local retailers: Hershey Pharmacy & Gifts, Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society, and Knock Knock Boutique, Hershey; Arthur & Daughters, York; and Spotted Owl Boutique, Lititz.


The making of a makers market: Cocoa Beanery near Hershey

Community, AppearancesNeal GouletComment
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My wife, Sara, used to make biscotti under the brand name Putch & Buckie’s (coming to a retro tee in 2019!). One of the retail outlets she sold to was Cocoa Beanery, a coffee shop and cafe near Hershey. Donna Fair has managed Cocoa Beanery since it opened in 2008.

In January, as I sought opportunities for Stay Apparel Co. with area pop-up markets, I also reached out to Donna. Cocoa Beanery, under a series of big tents, hosts a Thursday farmers market from spring until fall.

I wondered whether Donna would be interested in launching a makers market. As the name suggests, these are vendors who create something, from tees and knitwear to candles and pottery to jewelry and soaps.

Donna graciously discussed the concept in general terms but made no commitment. By June, however, with a little more space on her calendar, she invited me to discuss the idea with her in greater detail.

While Donna offered a great venue, I could reach out to some of the kind, talented entrepreneurs from throughout central Pennsylvania that I had met while participating in the Harrisburg Flea, York Flea, Creatively Lancaster and Market on Chocolate (downtown Hershey) pop-up markets.

We launched with seven vendors on July 27, piggy-backing on Cocoa Beanery’s “Live on the Lawn” series that features live music, grill food and craft beer. Our makers market, at 1215 Research Blvd., Hummelstown, runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on the fourth Friday of the month. Admission is free.

“Makers’ markets are increasingly popular shopping destinations for consumers who want a deeper connection with the goods they buy and the people who make them,” Donna said in a news release. “You can think of these makers as doing for retail shopping what craft brewers have done to revitalize the beer industry.”

For the first show, Stay was joined by Adrienne's Herbals, Bianca Zidik, Burlap & Bows, Boom! Crafted Pickles, Jennie Bowman Designs and Moonrise Candle Co.

We grew to nine vendors for the Aug. 24 show. We expect to have 16 vendors for the third show, Sept. 28, and 17 for the final show of 2018, on Oct. 26.

But that might not be the final show. Donna and I have discussed holding a holiday makers market in early December. (Vendors interested in participating: please contact me at hello@stayapparel.com).

Donna suggested an appearance by Santa Claus. If we pull it off, I might have to ask Sara about baking biscotti for the occasion.

See you in September (and October): Here's where we'll be popping up

AppearancesNeal GouletComment

After a 13-week stint with Market on Chocolate in Hershey this summer, we're looking forward to hitting the road this fall.

We'll be returning to Harrisburg, York and Lancaster while making our first visit to State College. Here's a closer look at where you'll find us:

Sept. 1: Harrisburg Flea from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Midtown Cinema, 250 Reily St.

Sept. 2: York Flea at What the Food Trucks, an admission-free block party from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. featuring 40 trucks and carts, live music, beer and merchants.

Sept. 8: Creatively Lancaster from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Clipper Magazine Stadium, home of the Lancaster Barnstormers.

Sept. 22: Pop-Up Avenue in downtown State College, on South Fraser Street between College and Beaver avenues. It runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and includes live music, food vendors and a beer garden.

Sept. 29: The Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society's first "Brews, Brats & Bands" from 4 to 7 p.m. at Cocoa Beanery, 1215 Research Blvd., Hummelstown.

Oct. 6: Bridge Bust from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Veterans Memorial Bridge between Columbia and Wrightsville. We'll be among nearly 300 vendors on the 1.25-mile bridge, which will be closed to auto traffic.

Oct. 13: Let's play two! We're back at Clipper Magazine Stadium for another Creatively Lancaster pop-up event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You'll also find a limited selection of Stay items at these fine local retailers: Hershey Pharmacy & Gifts, Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society, and Knock Knock Boutique, Hershey; Arthur & Daughters and York Revolution team store, York; and Spotted Owl Boutique, Lititz.

Tale of the tee: Helb's Keystone Brewery

ProductsNeal GouletComment
Helb's Keystone Brewery tee, part of our initial retro series honoring brands of yesteryear.

Helb's Keystone Brewery tee, part of our initial retro series honoring brands of yesteryear.

In April 2018, Stay participated in York Flea's pop-up market at the Collusion Tap Works craft brewery in downtown York. After unloading our tent, tees and other products and supplies, we moved our Honda Pilot to a parking lot across King Street from Collusion.

Coincidentally, that parking lot had played host to a brewery from 1873 to 1950.

It was called Helb's Keystone Brewery, which we featured this year as part of our initial series of retro tees honoring brands of yesteryear in central Pennsylvania. The others are Herpak Franks of Harrisburg and The Flying Machine, a short-lived restaurant in Hershey.

Theodore R. Helb, who was from Shrewsbury Township in York County, learned brewing in Baltimore, according to the Gazette and Daily newspaper. He "built the brewery in 1897 after he had made a fortune starting from a one-man operation in 1873."

A Helb's ad in a November 1888 edition of the York Daily newspaper boasted of the beer: "Analyzed by chemists and pronounced absolutely pure. Recommended by physicians as a wholesome beverage." (One column over, a York druggist promoted a product guaranteed to cure "drunkenness or the liquor habit" when given to someone in their coffee or tea without their knowledge, sort of a reverse Mickey.)

A decade later, the York Daily reported that Helb's had completed an artesian well 215 feet deep that would provide 51,840 gallons of water per month for the brewery.

Back again!

In the early 20th century, Helb's was an innovator when it came to delivery. The Harrisburg Telegraph in June 1913 ran the headline: "York brewer was first to motorize delivery"

Theodore Helb was credited with being the first person to substitute electric-powered trucks for horse-drawn wagons. His "entire hauling outfit" was now electric, save for one gas car.

Of course, Prohibition banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States from 1920 to 1933. A November 1933 ad in the News-Comet newspaper in East Berlin, Adams County, hailed the end of Prohibition with the headline: "Helb's Beer is back again!"

Helb's advertised in the Evening Sun newspaper in Hanover, York County, in December 1939 to tout its "Holiday Special," proclaiming it master brewer Adolph Hartman's masterpiece. On the same page of the paper, Miller Buick offered a used 1936 five-passenger sedan with a trunk for $385.

G. Curtis Helb, nephew of the brewery's namesake founder, ran Helb's for 16 years before selling it in 1949 to Robert Beachaud of Williamsport, who had recently resigned as head of Flock's Brewery in his city, according to the Gazette and Daily in York. But Beachaud lasted only six months before he stopped making payments on a mortgage held by the nephew Helb.

In March 1951, G. Curtis Helb reacquired the brewery property at sheriff's sale for $86,000, the Gazette and Daily reporting that "future plans for the building are indefinite."

Helb's Keystone Brewery never returned.  

 

 

Buy American: We'll share some of our favorite brands

Branding, Products, VendorsNeal GouletComment
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We met Steven and Allison at our first Harrisburg Flea, on the frigid first Saturday of January 2018.

While explaining Stay's commitment to U.S.-made products, I also told them about a couple of my favorite domestic brands, American Giant and Dearborn Denim.

When I saw the Harrisburg couple again in March, Steven excitedly said to me, "Hey, look what I'm wearing," drawing attention to his Chicago-made Dearborn Denim jeans.

It wasn't quite "Miracle on 34th Street" with the Macy's Santa sending customers to rival Gimbels, but I won't hesitate to steer Stay customers to other U.S.-made brands that I hold in high regard. 

I pride myself on wearing some of them to our pop-up events, from Bills Khakis button-down shirts to New Balance sneakers, from my Shinola watch to my own Dearborn Denim jeans.

Sell the world a Stay tee

I've always been fond of U.S.-made products, having grown up in Maine when almost everything L.L. Bean sold was domestically produced. Unsurprising, starting Stay and sourcing our products, whether from Pennsylvania or Indiana, California or Cleveland, has reignited that passion in me.

To be sure, I have a vested interest in the Made in America movement. I would love to sell the world a Stay tee.

But I also believe that a movement has to be bigger than a few brands. So I try to recommend U.S.-made brands to customers who seem so inclined. When consumers know about U.S.-made options, they just might consider and even purchase them.

American-made products can be more expensive than their imported counterparts, but not always and sometimes with good reason: namely, they're built to last longer.

Most people just want a good product and a good value, regardless of country of origin. They're not wrong for doing that, but maybe they just haven't thought through the implications of relying too heavily on imports.

Even in this information age, there's great value in making physical goods. It's good for jobs and wages, which is good for communities. It's good for civic pride to be known for a product, right Hershey? 

It's good for the environment to source things nearer to where they are consumed. I'll go so far as to say that it's good for national security, because societies that can make things for themselves are less vulnerable to external events. 

Local makers

Since launching Stay in October 2017, we've been on the pop-up circuit: Harrisburg Flea, York Flea, Creatively Lancaster and, all summer 2018, Market on Chocolate. I never cease to be impressed by the talents and products on display from local makers.

The vendors you find at makers markets are the antidote to the utilitarian, experience-less state of most retail in America, akin to what local and regional craft brewers have done to revitalize a homogenized, stagnant national beer industry.

And even though the likes of American Giant and Dearborn Denim are far bigger than pop-up vendors, they share the same ethos. They love what they do, they engage with customers, and they make great products in America.

If you want to explore some of our favorite Made in USA brands for yourself, you can look at who we follow on Instagram.

Or come talk with us at a pop-up event near you, just like Steven and Allison. 

 

We'll be at Market on Chocolate in downtown Hershey every Saturday this summer

AppearancesNeal GouletComment
Market on Chocolate is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays in ChocolateTown Square.

Market on Chocolate is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays in ChocolateTown Square.

Hershey is our home for the summer.

Starting June 2, you'll find the Stay tent in downtown Hershey from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through August as part of Market on Chocolate.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Downtown Hershey Association, Market on Chocolate this year will feature some 20 vendors every week in ChocolateTown Square.

From the association's website: 

"This year the market will feature many new and returning vendors selling a multitude of goods ranging from craft prepared foods, to unique jewelry and artisan wares, to locally grown items. The market also includes entertainment, children’s activities, and community programming in addition to fitness classes and other special events."

We'll have all of our Hershey tees and many others with us, but if there's a particular item or size that you'd like to see on a given Saturday, please drop us a note in advance at hello@stayapparel.com. We'll do our best to accommodate all requests.

We accept debit and credit cards.

We look forward to meeting you at Market on Chocolate and to a great summer in downtown Hershey. 

Tale of the tee: Herpak hot dogs

ProductsNeal GouletComment
All-cotton unisex fine jersey tee in cream.

All-cotton unisex fine jersey tee in cream.

It seems that at least once during every Stay pop-up event, someone comes up to us and says, "So tell me about Stay."

It should be clear that we sell tees, but inquisitors want to know more about our name and brand. It's flattering that they care enough to ask, and the queries always seem earnest.

I tell them that Stay evokes a sense of place, as I described in this post last fall. It's the places featured on our tees, of course, but also the American places where our products are made. 

At the heart of a community's sense of place, I believe, is its history. A deep vein of nostalgia forms the essence of Stay. 

While change is inevitable -- "All that ever stays the same is change," per The Waterboys -- we can stay connected to the past that got us to where we are today.

Hence, this spring we're introducing three tees that honor central Pennsylvania brands from the past, two of them with decades-long histories, one with a fleeting existence but a cool logo that we felt compelled to preserve.

The first tee features Herpak hot dogs, a family-owned business in Harrisburg that operated for at least 74 years but, as far as my research can determine, quietly disappeared from the landscape in the late 1980s.

Owned by Hervitz Packing Co., Herpak began in 1911 and apparently spent the entirety of its existence at 1146 S. Cameron St., Harrisburg. Throughout its history, Herpak supported 4-H by purchasing prize-winning steers from the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Pampered products

An article in Harrisburg's Evening News in 1941 reported the arrest of Christ Gavid Hofsass, 61, "who had been an employee of the company," for stealing a can of lard and 80 pounds of meat.

In 1955, Herpak celebrated the opening of its new building with a newspaper ad bearing the headline, "Better Than Ever."

Touting the new plant's technological advances, the ad noted: "You should see how these Herpak products are pampered."

Herpak products also included bologna, ham, bacon and sausage.

To mark its 45th anniversary in 1956, Herpak ran a newspaper ad in the Lebanon Daily News that offered a coupon good for 10 cents off one pound of Herpak franks. The ad described them as "all meat and smoked with natural hickory logs" and declared Herpak "the best 'dog-gone' franks in Pennsylvania."

Dog-gone but, thanks to our tee, not forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

Stay is on the move in April and May

Appearances, ProductsNeal GouletComment
The Stay bigtop, coming to pop-up show near you.

The Stay bigtop, coming to pop-up show near you.

If April brings showers, well, there's not much we can do about the weather.

Regardless, we'll be right as rain for our April and May shows because we'll either be indoors or under the Stay bigtop. (OK, it's only a 10-foot-by-10-foot tent, but it's Stay-branded, made in the USA by our friends at TentCraft, and pretty awesome.)

We have six appearances scheduled, in Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties. We'll be back in our hometown, Hershey, for the first time since December. Each of these events is free and open to the public.

Here's the full slate:

April 7: Harrisburg Flea from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Strawberry Square, 320 Market St.

April 21: Go Green in the City from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown York (outdoors)

April 28: York Flea from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Collusion Tapworks, 105 S. Howard St. (outdoors)

May 5: Harrisburg Flea from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Midtown Cinema, 250 Reily St. (outdoors)

May 12: Hershey ArtFest & Flower Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Hershey (outdoors)

May 19: Spring Harvest hosted by Honeysuckle Shop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 4201 Harvest Road, Manheim. [Update May 2: This event has been cancelled.]

We hope to see you out and about this spring. Stop by, say hey, and maybe pick up a U.S.-made tee. As always, Stay stickers are free!

 

Tale of the tee: Working Hard in Harrisburg

ProductsNeal GouletComment
Elizabeth, a customer we met at the Harrisburg Flea in March 2018.

Elizabeth, a customer we met at the Harrisburg Flea in March 2018.

The older woman approached Stay's table at the Harrisburg Flea at Strawberry Square. She had a knowing look on her pleasant face as she focused on our "Working Hard in Harrisburg" tee, which adorned a torso mannequin at one end of the table.

Do you recognize this artwork? I asked.

Without hesitation, she correctly identified it as the Pennsylvania Worker statue outside the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry building in the capital city.

The statue was the final piece to the shirt design, which drew its initial inspiration from the English rock band The Clash. Specifically, "working hard in Harrisburg" is a lyric from the song "Clampdown," found on the great double album, "London Calling."

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As I explained here, The Clash produced "London Calling" in 1979 against the backdrop of the partial core meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant south of Harrisburg that March. (Note the cooling towers in the background of this video, which shows the band performing "Clampdown" on the old ABC series "Fridays.")

Joe Strummer and Mick Jones wrote "Clampdown," an anti-establishment tune that seemingly otherwise has nothing to do with Harrisburg. But it's Paul Simonon who appears on the album cover, smashing his bass guitar against the stage.

Pennsylvania worker

It's an iconic photo, but it pains me to think that anyone would destroy a guitar. I thought a celebration of the Pennsylvania worker, and by extension the American laborer, was the perfect substitution for our brand's focus on U.S.-made products.

For the artwork I turned to two friends who are heavily invested in Harrisburg as residents and owners of Yellow Bird Cafe in midtown. I once worked at a Harrisburg ad agency with Stephanie Perry, who is a graphic designer.  Her husband, Ammon, is an illustrator and created our version of the Pennsylvania Worker while Steph handled the lettering. (The font is called Housearama Kingpin, from House Industries in Delaware.)

You can purchase the Working Hard in Harrisburg tee here. But I also encourage you to do the hard work and see the statue for yourself at 651 Boas St., Harrisburg.

Baltimore artist William F. Duffy created the Pennsylvania Worker statue.

Baltimore artist William F. Duffy created the Pennsylvania Worker statue.

 

 

Tale of the tee: Mighty Like the White Rose City

Neal GouletComment
Our pop-up stand at York's Central Market

Our pop-up stand at York's Central Market

For our Feb. 3 pop-up at Central Market in York, we packed what you might imagine: everything from tees and tumblers to sweatshirts and stickers, items we sell or, in the case of the stickers, give away.

We brought supplies, too: Two torso mannequins? Check. Stay-branded table cover? Check. Flashing lights to create a disco-in-a-tumbler effect with which to dazzle children? You bet.

But you might be surprised to know that we traveled with a CD of Elvis Costello's "Mighty Like a Rose." The record came out in 1991, which also is the year I arrived in York as a reporter for the York Daily Record.

The CD wasn't for entertaining but rather explaining, in case anyone asked. Its title partially inspired our first York-branded tee. The front of the gray shirt reads, in white and gray ink, Mighty Like the White Rose City.

War of the Roses

York is nicknamed the White Rose City. But during each of Stay's two visits to York (the other as part of York Flea's Holiday Flea in December), we met shoppers who either were unfamiliar with the nickname or what it meant. 

York takes its name from England's House of York, whose symbol was a white rose. Likewise, Lancaster, Pa., derives from the House of Lancaster, known for its red rose. The two houses fought a series of civil wars in the mid-1400s that were known as the War of the Roses.

York, Pa., has a rich history in its own right, from the American Revolution to the industrial revolution. I thought about that history as Stay set up shop under the timber roof of Central Market, which opened in 1888 and is listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places. 

I'm forever grateful for having the opportunity to be a reporter in York, which offered an endless array of interesting stories to tell. But my abiding affection for York also has much to do with the fact that it's where I met my wife, Sara, who walked into the Daily Record newsroom and my life one day in late 1997.

The White Rose City is mighty indeed.

 

 

 

A new year, new Stay stuff made in the USA

Products, AppearancesNeal GouletComment
New items arriving in early 2018

New items arriving in early 2018

Most of our focus in 2018 is on getting out and about, namely bringing the Stay brand to pop-up events in the Hershey, Harrisburg, Lancaster and York areas.

We already have great U.S.-made tees branded for those communities, as well as Pennsylvania and the United States always available on our website. But we're always looking for opportunities to bring Stay stuff to where consumers gather in person.

That's why you'll see us at Harrisburg Flea, Creatively Lancaster's Makers Markets, York Flea, and Market on Chocolate in Hershey, among other appearances.

But we have a short list of new products, shown above, that we'll be rolling out, too, including:

USA pennant: Made for us in Big Run, Pa., by Standard Pennant Co., which has been serving the corporate, high school and college markets since 1919. The pennant design is a perfect complement to our USA tee

Lititz tee: America's coolest small town (winner 2013) gets the Stay treatment with this design, which is inspired by a sign on the replica train station/welcome center in Lititz Springs Park. We used water-based ink for a retro look that really pops.

Stay ball cap: Arriving in March, our second ball cap features white contrast stitching on charcoal fabric, with an embroidered Stay patch sewn on the front. The mid-profile design has a more streamlined look than our trucker cap. Both caps feature plastic adjustable straps and are made for us by Graffiti Caps in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, we've had a number of requests for a women's tank top, so look for that in the spring. [Update March 25, 2018: Try as we did, we could not find a U.S.-made tank that had the look, fit and price point that we felt comfortable offering to the public. So, we're tabling this idea for now.] We also plan to introduce our first long-sleeved tee in the fall.

Of course, we always welcome product suggestions. Please feel free to offer them here or in person at one of our pop-up events.

We hope you've enjoyed your Stay in 2017. We'll see you in the new year!

AppearancesNeal GouletComment
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We'll forever treasure 2017 as the year we launched Stay Apparel Co.

If you were among the many people who supported our efforts in some way, we offer a heartfelt thank you. If you weren't among them, then we look forward to welcoming you into the fold in 2018.

To that end, we're filling our calendar with appearances throughout central Pennsylvania, starting with:

Jan. 6: Harrisburg Flea, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Strawberry Square, 320 Market St., Harrisburg;

Jan. 13: Creatively Lancaster's Makers Market, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tellus360, 24 E. King St., Lancaster;

Feb. 3: Central Market in York, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wherever we are, please stop by, say hello, and pick up a free Stay sticker.

Meanwhile, if you know of an event that seems like a good fit for Stay, please let us know at hello@stayapparel.com. We welcome your suggestions.

We wish you the very best in the year ahead. Wherever you go, enjoy your Stay!

We're popping up Dec. 2 in York, Dec. 16 in Hershey

AppearancesNeal GouletComment
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Stay is in motion for the holidays, bringing our pop-up shopping experience to York and Hershey.

On Dec. 2, we're debuting our Stay-branded tent at York Flea's inaugural Holiday Flea from noon to 8 p.m. in Cherry Lane Park.

We'll have a full complement of merch, including our "Mighty Like the White Rose City" tee.

On Dec. 16, we're returning to Steele Hair Salon, 15 Briarcrest Square, time to be determined. We had a great response to our first "Stay at Steele" event on Nov. 18, despite the rain.  

We look forward to see you in December. Please stop by, say hi, and grab a free Stay sticker.

Find Stay at these local retailers

Retailers, ProductsNeal GouletComment

Besides what we offer on our website and at pop-up events, Stay tees are available in limited selections at these local retailers during the holiday season:
    •    Knock Knock Boutique, 110 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey
    •    Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society museum store, 40 Northeast Drive, Hershey
    •    Arthur & Daughters, 49 N. Beaver St., York
Our deepest thanks to them for supporting Stay, and to you for shopping local.