Stay Apparel Co.

An authentic American brand of place

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.
 

Stay Apparel Co. partners with Hershey Volunteer Fire Department on fundraising T-shirt

Community, ProductsNeal GouletComment
 Station 48, 21 W. Caracas Ave., Hershey

Station 48, 21 W. Caracas Ave., Hershey

Stay Apparel Co. is partnering with the Hershey Volunteer Fire Department on a fundraising T-shirt featuring Station 48’s tower.

Launched this month at stayapparel.com, Stay offers custom U.S.-made clothing and accessories.

Stay designed and screen printed the fire department shirt. The heather red shirt features, in white ink, a badge-like logo incorporating the tower and the words, “Forty-eight, since 1905.”

All proceeds will benefit the department’s capital campaign.

The shirts are $25 each and can be purchased at stayapparel.com or by appointment at Station 48, 21 W. Caracas Ave., Hershey, which can be reached at 717-533-2953.

Made from a cotton/polyester blend, the shirts come in unisex sizes of small, medium, large and XL. Sizes 2XL and 3XL are available only at Station 48.

Defining Stay and a brand of place

Vendors, Branding, ProductsNeal Goulet
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I told a friend about Stay Apparel Co. in the spring.

She called it “an interesting brand name.” I wondered just how to take that and hoped she didn’t mean it in the Chinese curse “interesting times” sort of way.

I didn’t ask her to clarify, but I have been asked what the name means. I hope that our tagline – “An authentic American brand of place” – and place-specific T-shirts offer compelling clues as to what Stay is about.

Of course, our name invokes stay in the sense of being somewhere, as a short-term visitor or guest or a more permanent resident. Stay’s mission is to celebrate those places, and we’re starting with shirts branded for Hershey, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster and Philadelphia, as well as Pennsylvania and the U.S. of A.

But we also honor those American cities and towns where our products are made, from my hometown of Lewiston, Maine, to Long Beach, Calif., from Shelbyville, Ind., to Cleveland.

As part of the process of developing Stay’s brand identity, I came across a 2012 column written by Edward T. McMahon, a land-use expert with the Urban Land Institute. He discussed "[w]hat attracts people to a place and keeps them there."

"Place is more than just a location on a map. A sense of place is a unique collection of qualities and characteristics – visual, cultural, social, and environmental – that provide meaning to a location. Sense of place is what makes one city or town different from another, but sense of place is also what makes our physical surroundings worth caring about."

Honoring those unique qualities that create a sense of place, that’s what defines Stay Apparel Co. for me.


 

Yes, Lauren, Stay Apparel Co. is a thing

Branding, ProductsNeal GouletComment
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The idea for Stay Apparel Co. evolved over several years. I remember email exchanges with a designer friend about creating throwback T-shirts, but the concept was sufficiently vague that it didn’t get very far.

I don’t recall what inspired me on May 18, 2015, but that’s the day I paid the princely sum of $1.17 (after a $12 discount) to purchase the stayapparel.com domain. Even at that stage, I hadn’t figured out just what Stay would be.

But in my mind, “Stay” always connoted a sense of place. I remember my wife telling me she had explained the meaning of the name to her co-worker Lauren.

“Yeah, I get it,” Lauren said.

Sometimes when you’re chasing a dream and it still seems unfocused and maybe even unattainable, the smallest encouragement can keep hope alive.

Meanwhile, beginning in 2013, I had started blogging (twice per year, at the Fourth of July and Christmas) about American-made products, highlighting ones I had used and researching others that I was just learning about.

And the more U.S. products I found, the more I wanted to discover. It became a passion that I liken to being an indie music fan in the early 1980s, R.E.M. leading me to Husker Du and Dream Syndicate and The Replacements and on and on.

I spent most of 2016 pursuing another project that just didn’t seem feasible financially or timewise, so I revisited Stay. But I didn’t call it Stay. It was a trial run, basically, just me having a couple of products custom made – a Hershey pennant and a Hershey knit hat – and trying to sell them under the banner of my public relations business, Goulet Communications.

The response was encouraging enough that after close consultation with my family, we decided to launch Stay in 2017.

We had a name, a domain, and a still-evolving idea of what the Stay brand would represent. Always at its essence, however, was a commitment to U.S.-made products. Starting in January, we spent nine months birthing the Stay brand you see today.

In August, my wife was at lunch when she ran into Lauren, who noticed Sara’s zip bag with the Stay flag logo on it.

Mind you, they haven’t worked together for a couple of years now.

“Is Stay a thing?” Lauren said enthusiastically.

Yes, Lauren, it is a thing. And maybe a name with Staying power.