Stay Apparel Co.

An authentic American brand of place

Buying American-made is easier and more affordable than you think

Made in USANeal GouletComment
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An organization called the Made in America Movement posted the image of an American flag puzzle on Instagram. One of the puzzle pieces, bearing white stars on blue, appeared to be falling off.

“United we can rebuild the American economy: Buy American Made!,” the copy read.

“We The People,” the post continued, “have the purchasing power to create change. Start voting with your wallet. Spend it where you earn it and buy American made!”

To which one conflicted person commented: “I’d love to. Did we all get 30 percent income raises I’m not aware of??”

I figuratively removed my U.S.-made Stay trucker cap ($25) and scratched my head in disbelief at the notion that to buy American one has to be well off. Whether it’s the result of ignorance or apathy, that commenter and other American consumers who think that buying U.S.-made is beyond their means are just wrong.

In fact, an array of affordable everyday Made in the USA options is out there if you’re only willing to look. And you don’t have to look that far.

Local makers markets, by definition, offer an abundance of U.S.-made products, from soaps and candles to leather crafts and jewelry to men’s ties and women’s dresses. In our area, consider shopping at Market on Chocolate in Hershey; Harrisburg Flea; York Flea; Creatively Lancaster; Pop Up Ave in State College.

Stay is proud to have been a part of each one. Our products range from a $5 keychain to a $15 insulated tumbler, from a $20 USA pennant to $25 T-shirts and $35 sweatshirts.

I concede that it sometimes takes a little extra work to find U.S.-made products. My local office products store carries only imported writing pads, so I searched online and found Tops-brand writing pads that are made in the USA. (With 100 sheets and a thicker chipboard backer, they are the best writing pad I’ve ever used.) Tops offers a wide range of U.S.-made office products.

Made in America Store

My early-spring pilgrimage to Buffalo included a visit to the flagship Made in America store in Elma, N.Y. What began in 2010 in the vacant showroom of a closed auto dealership has grown to seven general merchandise stores in western New York, plus a web store.

Everything the Made in America store sells is “100 percent American made, down to its packaging,” according to the company.

As a general merchandiser, the Made in America store has to be price conscious, and the company offers weekly sales: https://madeinamericastore.com/weekly-ad/

AnyTownUSA

Just two weeks before I visited the Made in America store, I learned about AnytownUSA, which describes itself as “the online marketplace for all things American-made.”

I was picking up a couple of pennant pillows — featuring our original USA felt pennant — created for Stay by Darriel Davis, a talented artist and crafter in Lancaster. Darriel told me that her friend, Geralyn Breig, was the founder of AnytownUSA.

From Breig’s blog post in June 2018:

For many people in our country, the American dream is to make things they’re proud of and to sell them, so they can support themselves and their families. I started out wanting to help people achieve their American dream by buying more American-made goods. Soon I realized other folks feel the way I do. There are many reasons to buy close to home. Take your pick: It’s better for the environment … it helps our economy …it’s always good to know more about who makes the stuff we buy and how they make them. With my business and marketing experience, I got to thinking: There should be a place, a community, where the people who want to sell things they’ve made and the people who want to buy things made in America can meet and support each other.

Norton’s USA

Deborah Leydig worked in fashion design, created her own label of designer gift-wrapping paper, and became an actress. While researching a stage adaption of the book, “Nickled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” she discovered how much U.S. manufacturing had moved outside of the country.

In 2007, she started Norton’s USA, described as a “uniquely American general store,” in Barrington, Ill. Her physical store operates from a quaint old livery barn and she sells online. How cool are these glass Christmas ornaments?

Embracing a buy-American philosophy was an evolutionary process for me. I’ve always looked at labels and tags, but years ago I may have only cringed when buying imports. Today, unless I find no other options or it’s an urgent matter, I just go without.

Besides, the old newspaper reporter in me likes the challenge of finding American options. What’s more, it has disciplined my shopping, which taps into the “buy less but better” concept. It also gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I’m helping to keep my fellow Americans employed.

To that commenter who facetiously referenced 30 percent raises: No, most of us haven’t gotten those kinds of pay hikes.

But what I do know is that the more we buy American, the better it is for American jobs and American wages. And that’s good for the United States of America.

These Stay models are graduating from high school, ready to scale new heights

Products, BrandingNeal GouletComment
These and several other Stay models are members of the class of 2019.

These and several other Stay models are members of the class of 2019.

Flashlight in hand, Jim O’Shell was leading me up the open steel stairs. We had only reached the third floor when my fear of heights — and having to climb 10 more stories — got the best of me. My heart pounding, I told Jim that I didn’t think I could make it.

I felt terrible for wasting Jim’s time. I didn’t know Jim until I reached out to him through Facebook, requesting that he consider allowing Stay to use the giant old cocoa bean silos in Hershey as a backdrop for our latest photo shoot. This was a pre-shoot scouting expedition.

Jim and his partners own the giant tan silos, which were once part of the Hershey’s chocolate factory. There’s a big open room with lots of windows at the top of the silos (I had seen photos online). I thought the combination of streaming light and industrial grit would be a great setting for our photos — until I started the ascent.

I couldn’t imagine making it to the top or, achieving that, having to climb down.

I was disappointed, but the photo shoot had to go on. On May 19, to be precise. Fortunately, the Hershey Fire Department, for which we developed our Station 48 tee, was kind enough to open the doors to its gorgeous building to us. On this steamy Sunday afternoon, we also shot outdoors, first in ChocolateTown Square and then in my backyard.

The class of 2019

This was our fifth photo shoot since August 2017, when we tapped the staff at Steele Salon in Hershey as our first models. Then as now, we needed photos for our website and social media channels.

An iPhone is invaluable for photos (and many other things), but I know my limitations as a shutterbug. We put too much time and effort into developing great-looking tees to scrimp when it comes to presenting them in pictures. Hence, the hiring of our talented photographer, Amanda, to keep us true to our brand image. We’d be lost without her.

Likewise, I can’t thank enough the Stay models — friends and family members who’ve so generously given of their time and visages for the sake of our little enterprise. Our youngest and oldest models are decades apart in age.

However, most of them are members of the Hershey High School class of 2019, so this latest photo shoot was bittersweet. Once they head off to college in late summer, it’ll be harder than ever to get even a core group of them together. What an impressive group they are: smart, kind, funny, talented, ambitious and ready to scale new heights.

For them, 13 flights of open steel stairs are no match.

Sears long ago left the building, but Memphis has witnessed a Crosstown revival

Neal GouletComment
Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, Tenn.

Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, Tenn.

Crosstown Concourse wasn’t much on our radar when we visited Memphis, Tenn., for a long weekend in late February.

We had so many other stops on our to-do list, from Graceland and Sun Studio to the National Civil Rights Museum and Beale Street to craft beer and barbecue.

I vaguely knew that Crosstown Concourse was a former Sears distribution center, but I was unprepared for the enormity of the complex (it’s the largest commercial building in Tennessee) and unaware of what it had meant to Memphis back in the glory days when Sears was the city’s largest employer and America’s No. 1 retailer.

At French Truck Coffee on Crosstown’s first level, while my wife and son ordered (my next cup of coffee will be my first!), I struck up a brief conversation with a young woman behind the counter. I inquired about the colossal Art Deco building in which the coffee shop was a mere speck.

She knew some of the history, but most important steered me to the website/podcast “99% Invisible,” specifically an article titled, “Ghost Plants: Reusing Huge Abandoned Sears Buildings Across Urban America.”

One of those ghosts happened to be what is now Crosstown Concourse.

What the Memphis Business Journal once dubbed “the Mount Everest of abandoned Memphis commercial properties,” Crosstown Concourse is a sad reminder of what retail in America used to look and feel like and what we have lost in the digital age.

Yet it’s also a shining example of how persistence and innovation — and even a little benign neglect — not only can save historically and architecturally significant buildings but also make them thriving destinations once again.

It reminded me of the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, N.C., which transformed what had been the largest tobacco operation in the world into a thriving mixed-used complex across from the home of the legendary Durham Bulls baseball team.

‘Even an in-house hospital’

Richard Warren Sears started selling watches in 1886, which led to a massive mail-order business and ultimately a brick-and-mortar empire that ruled the retail landscape for decades.

Originally built in 1927, Sears Crosstown had been a massive Sears distribution center and retail store.

Sears built 10 of these similar properties across the country between 1910 and 1930, according to the Memphis Business Journal. The 99% Invisible story juxtaposes black-and-white photos of the Minneapolis, Boston, Los Angeles and Memphis locations.

Building Design + Construction noted: “Sears shipped everything the consumer could wish for from these massive warehouses: Kenmore appliances, Craftsman tools, kits to build a house. You could order a hound dog. Or a donkey.”

When the Memphis complex opened on Aug. 27, 1927, one-in-four Memphians passed through the doors, according to WebUrbanist.com.

Sears spent a cool $5 million on what was to be their eighth regional distribution center, raising the roof in an astonishing 180 days! … Planners didn’t skimp on the amenities, either: Sears Crosstown boasted a soda fountain, a luncheonette, a cafeteria exclusively for employees, even an in-house hospital.

But the retail store closed in 1983 and the rest of the complex followed suit in 1993. Crosstown Concourse’s website noted that it stood as a “beacon of blight” for 20 years until 30 funding sources and 40 founding tenants came together to save it between 2010 and 2017.

Based on what the complex has become, it was well worth the wait.

Today, the 10-story, 1.5 million-square-foot “vertical urban village” is a “creative cauldron” that includes 265 apartments, a gym, theater, art gallery, stores, restaurants, doctor and dentist offices, a pharmacy, even a charter public high school. The uses seem endless, which helps explain why some 3,000 people per day cycle through the complex.

We didn’t have nearly enough time to explore Crosstown Concourse, where a Black History Month event was taking place that Sunday afternoon. We had lunch at Farm Burger but regrettably didn’t venture down to the far end where Crosstown Brewing Co. recently became the city’s newest craft brewery.

If we get back to Memphis, perhaps we’ll start at Crosstown Concourse. Heck, we could even stay there: rooms can be rented overnight.




We've added eight tees and a tote bag so far this year

ProductsNeal GouletComment


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When I think of Stay’s product prolificity in 2019, Johnny Cash comes to mind.

None of our new tees is black, so that’s not why I invoke the Man in Black. Rather, it’s Cash singing “I’ve Been Everywhere”:

To wit: “I’ve been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow … “

We get around, too, for pop-up events in old department stores, in hotel banquet rooms and on city streets. But we also travel in a figurative sense, as we’ve done with the recent introduction of new Harrisburg, Hershey, Lancaster, York and Happy Valley tees.

We’ve added eight tees in all, including our John Updike-inspired heart shirt in a women’s cut and children’s sizes and a new version of our popular unisex Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful tee, also in a women’s cut and children’s sizes.

We added a Garvin’s department store retro tee, giving us one for Lancaster to complement our Flying Machine (Hershey), Helb’s Keystone Brewery (York), and Herpak Franks (Harrisburg) throwback designs.

Canvas grocery bag

All told, the Stay lineup now comprises 30 distinct tees.

Our one other addition this year is a cotton canvas grocery bag featuring the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful design. It’s roomy and sturdy for carrying food and beverage, but it’s so stylish that you’ll feel comfortable taking it to work or on a trip.

Of course, everything we sell is always available on stayapparel.com. We bring a representative selection to all of our pop-up appearances, too. If you’re coming to see us at a show and want to make sure we have a certain item, please send us a note at hello@stayapparel.com and we’ll be more than happy to oblige.

We haven’t been everywhere, man, but we try to make our way around the midstate. We hope to see you down the road.









Tale of the tee: Garvin's department store

ProductsNeal GouletComment
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Stay spent three Saturdays in December 2018 participating in Creatively Lancaster’s pop-up market at Park City Center. We were among dozens of vendors selling from tables in a portion of the former Bon-Ton department store.

We returned to the otherwise empty store April 13 for another Creatively Lancaster show. The Bon-Ton, which began in York, Pa., in 1898 and became a regional chain, went out of business in 2018 (although efforts are afoot to bring it back). If we project 44 years into the future, what will people remember about Bon-Ton?

I ask because 44 years ago, another department store went out of business in downtown Lancaster. Like Bon-Ton, Garvin’s, the self-described “store for the thrifty,” lasted for more than a century, albeit with one location.

Having only arrived in south-central Pennsylvania in 1991 and never having lived in Lancaster, I hadn’t heard of Garvin’s until 2018, when I stumbled upon one of its paper bags on eBay. My subsequent research revealed a fascinating company that for decades was at the heart of life in Lancaster.

That’s a big reason why we made Garvin’s the subject of our newest retro tee, joining a lineup of local brands of yesteryear that also includes our Helb’s Keystone Brewery (York), Herpak Franks (Harrisburg), and Flying Machine restaurant (Hershey) tees.

Next door to the courthouse

From a 1970 postcard, East King Street, Lancaster, looking toward Penn Square, Garvin’s (note the G logo on the brick facade) is next to the old Lancaster County Courthouse. (Copyright Melvin J. Horst)

From a 1970 postcard, East King Street, Lancaster, looking toward Penn Square, Garvin’s (note the G logo on the brick facade) is next to the old Lancaster County Courthouse. (Copyright Melvin J. Horst)

Milton Thomas Garvin, a native of Fulton Township in southern Lancaster County, moved to the city of Lancaster at age 14 in 1863 and became an errand boy at an East King Street dry goods store called R.E. Fahnestock. Garvin worked his way up the ranks and, after Fahnestock’s death, bought the store in 1894, renaming it M.T. Garvin & Co.

At that time, the store comprised one building, just west of the county courthouse. Garvin’s purchased adjacent buildings in 1912 and in 1927, according to the Elizabethtown Chronicle newspaper. Upon completion of the expansion and renovation, it became known as the “Greater Garvin Store” in the company’s print ads.

A 1929 Garvin’s ad in the Chronicle promoted Suburban Day Saturday:

“A day when our Country friends and customers will come to Garvin’s by the hundreds to obtain the biggest bargains of the Spring season.” For example, women’s coats normally priced $14.75 to $19.50 were on sale for $12.

Garvin’s also gave back to its employees. When Hershey Park (it was two words back then) opened a new restaurant in July 1916, the Harrisburg Telegraph reported, it was “inaugurated by a party of employees of M.T. Garvin & Co. of Lancaster, who brought hundreds of flags to show their patriotism.”

The American economy entered a mild recession in summer 1929 (a Great Depression would arrive that fall). On June 27, Garvin’s closed for its annual picnic, held at the Carsonia amusement park in Reading.

“Special trolley cars will convey the picnicers to the Park, while others will go by automobile,” according to the Chronicle. “Sports and games of various sorts have been arranged.”

In July, to mark the federal government’s release of new currency, Garvin’s released 100 balloons into the air. Each balloon bore a tag that could be redeemed for a new one-dollar bill (worth about $15 today).

In 1936, M.T. Garvin died of a heart attack at age 76. His store would continue for another 39 years.

Garvin’s tee

Our Garvin’s tee debuted at the April Creatively Lancaster show. Older shoppers were drawn to it; some had been customers or worked there. From them I learned that Garvin’s was among three downtown department stores, joining Hager’s and Watt & Shand on King Street. (How’s this for coming full-circle: Bon-Ton ended up at Park City through its purchase of Watt & Shand in 1992.)

When you bought something at Garvin’s, in the early days at least, you gave your money to a clerk who then put it into a pneumatic tube that was whisked away to a central cashier. The cashier would provide the appropriate change and send it back to the clerk.

One man told me that he worked at Garvin’s in two stints in the late 1950s, early 1960s. He said there was a small grocery in the basement, but the food warehouse was on the sixth floor. The goods could be moved to the basement by means of gravity, winding down a spiral chute.

One day he grabbed a piece of cardboard and road down the chute, only to land embarrassingly at the feet of the store president.

The man’s wife joined him toward the end of our conversation. “Did you tell him about the most important thing that happened to you at Garvin’s?” she asked.

He met her, she explained, during the several years she also was a Garvin’s employee.

By the 1970s, downtowns began to hollow out, in part because shopping tastes shifted to shiny new enclosed malls such as Park City Center, which opened in 1971. The end came for Garvin’s in November 1975, the Lebanon Daily News citing the high cost of doing business, high interest rates on bank loans, the calling of a bank loan, and disruption of the business by local construction among the reasons for the store’s closing.

For 118 employees, the closing meant lost jobs. For Lancaster, it was the loss of a downtown institution after 129 years.

But 44 years since the closing, the Garvin’s name is back in a small way on our tee. And the old Garvin’s store is coming back, too, as the new headquarters for Woodstream Corp., a maker of pest control and lawn and garden products that is relocating 180 jobs to the site from Lititz.


With a wave to the past, the classic felt pennant has made a big comeback

Products, VendorsNeal GouletComment
Our USA pennant, manufactured for us by Standard Pennant Co., Big Run, Pa.

Our USA pennant, manufactured for us by Standard Pennant Co., Big Run, Pa.

I had written several blog posts (for my public relations business) about some of my favorite U.S.-made products and brands when I decided to get in on the act.

It was fall 2016, and the holidays were soon upon us. I needed a couple of items that we could produce quickly. I reached out to one of those favorite U.S. brands, Oxford Pennant in Buffalo, N.Y., a designer and manufacturer of wool felt pennants, flags and banners. Oxford’s retro vibe fit well with my image for Stay Apparel Co., which I had been pondering for some time but hadn’t yet launched.

Oxford founders and owners Dave Horesh and Brett Mikoll helped me develop a retro Hershey pennant, on maroon felt with cream-colored band and screen print. It was in our initial lineup when Stay debuted in October 2017. In January 2018, we introduced a USA pennant, made for us by century-old Standard Pennant Co. in Big Run, Pa.

‘Started with a pennant’

Stay’s focus is mostly on tees branded for places: Hershey, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Lititz, Happy Valley, Philly, Pennsylvania, USA. But the Stay logo is a flag, and pennants are a perfect accessory for our brand, given that historically they have been one of the best ways to convey a pride of place: of cities and towns; of colleges and sports teams; of events and attractions. (Our Happy Valley tees, in short and long sleeves, feature a pennant design on the front.)

Our first product, a Hershey wool felt pennant we developed with Oxford Pennant in Buffalo, N.Y.

Our first product, a Hershey wool felt pennant we developed with Oxford Pennant in Buffalo, N.Y.

Perhaps you are familiar with the hat brand ’47. The name references 1947, the year that twin Italian immigrant brothers Henry and Arthur D’Angelo started Twins Enterprises in Massachusettts. I knew of Twins because the D’Angelo family for decades has operated a souvenir stand across from Fenway Park, home of my beloved Boston Red Sox.

An October 2018 story in Esquire explained that it wasn’t hats that got the D’Angelos started:

Arthur D’Angelo can’t recall much about his start with the brand, but his son, Bobby, helps translate some of the stories he can recall his dad telling. Namely, that the brand so heavily focused on hats and T-shirts nowadays actually started with a pennant.

“After World War II, the country was a different place,” says Bobby. “My father followed the Freedom Train, selling American pennants. The first one he sold was a Declaration of Independence pennant. Today, it’s all about hats and shirts. In those days it wasn’t; it was completely different back then.”

After the Declaration of Independence pennant came the Red Sox ones. The Red Sox won the American League Pennant in 1946; the brothers thought selling sports pennants might work as well as peddling political ones. So they started ’47 (originally Twin Enterprises). They sold the pennants alongside newspapers and, eventually, baseball caps.

Pennants can put you in a time and a place but are timeless.

I can remember my parents buying me a blue-with-white felt pennant with “Lisbon” printed on it when we attended an open house at Lisbon Elementary School in Maine. I ordered a pennant from the old Philadelphia Firebirds hockey team when I was a kid; it was one of the rigid ones that were popular in the 1970s and, to my great chagrin, arrived folded in an envelope! I gave throwback felt pennants from Philadelphia-based Mitchell & Ness as gifts to a couple newspaper colleagues when they moved on to new jobs.

Pennants can come in different sizes (ours are 7 inches by 21 inches; 9 inches by 27 inches is another popular dimension), but unlike tees they don’t face the challenge of fitting a human form.

Pennants are an inexpensive way to decorate (ours sell for $20), whether pinned to a bulletin board or framed behind glass or sewn to a pillow.

Most important, pennants are fun. Try looking at Oxford’s assortment without smiling or even laughing: see exhibit A and exhibit B, for instance.

We envision adding more pennants in the future (if you have an idea, please send it to hello@stayapparel.com). Classic wool felt pennants will always have a home at Stay.

Long may they wave.











Stay sells stuff at spring shows

AppearancesNeal GouletComment
The Stay big top returns to downtown State College and Pop Up Ave on April 27.

The Stay big top returns to downtown State College and Pop Up Ave on April 27.

No seashells, but we'll have a full complement of U.S.-made Stay tees and accessories at all of our appearances as winter gives way to spring.

Here's where you will find us, with our first outdoor show under the Stay big top scheduled for April 20. All events are free:

Of course, if you can't see 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).

In person or online, you always get a free Stay sticker with any purchase.

Pocket change: a call for American consumers to ‘buy less but better’

ProductsNeal GouletComment
American Giant’s pop-up store in SoHo, New York City.

American Giant’s pop-up store in SoHo, New York City.

My drive from the Stay global headquarters in Hershey to Central Market in York one Saturday morning in January coincided with WITF-FM’s re-airing of an episode of “How I Built This,” the popular podcast “about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built.”

I had heard this episode before, but something guest Yvon Chouinard said resonated with me upon a second listen. The founder of outdoor brand Patagonia (incredibly, I had not known that he grew up in my hometown in Maine until recently) maintained that his company still “owned” the products it sold.

He was referring to Patagonia’s “ironclad guarantee,” which promises that products not performing to a customer’s satisfaction can be returned “for a repair, replacement or refund.” Used Patagonia products also can be traded in for merchandise credit.

Chouinard allowed that his products are not inexpensive but are built with durability and practicality in mind. He suggested buying a ski jacket that also can be worn over a suit coat in a rainstorm in New York City.

“Own fewer things,” he said, “but really good things.”

Giving purpose to purchases

That line struck me because it’s a position I’ve taken to heart, focusing my purchases on really good things made in America.

Stay sells only U.S.-made clothing and accessories and always will. I believe that American-made products are of better quality because they adhere to higher standards than cheap imports do. And buying American keeps dollars in U.S. communities and helps to employ fellow Americans.

To live the buy-American credo sometimes takes a little more effort (inspecting labels, sending emails to a retailer’s customer service to verify a product’s country of origin, searching online) but ultimately is liberating in that it gives purpose and structure to my purchases. It’s a philosophy that I hope more of my fellow Americans will adopt for the good of us all.

No doubt, America’s shrinking middle class and widening income inequality have macro-economic causes, but American consumers individually bear responsibility, too, after decades of demanding and devouring ever-lower prices, literally buying into the notion that it doesn’t matter where things are made as long as they don’t cost much. (Great line from the song “Morning Moon” by Canada’s The Tragically Hip: “Someone’s paying when something’s too cheap.”)

It’s a trend that has hollowed out the American apparel industry and with it much of our manufacturing base, jobs and communities. As recently as the 1990s, half of the apparel sold in the United States was made here. Now it’s only 3 percent.

Three percent.

American-made flannel’s return

At the end of 2018, Woolrich closed its legendary woolen mill in its northern Pennsylvania hometown. A year earlier, the last American factory making high-end selvedge denim, operated by Cone Mills in Greensboro, N.C., closed its doors.

Yet there are pockets of hope. Dearborn Denim, founded in 2016, makes fantastic blue jeans in Chicago, selling direct to customers online and at two Windy City stores. Given the comfort, fit and price (starting at $60), they’re a great value.

I always look forward to Dearborn Denim’s email updates. Founder Rob McMillan does a great job of keeping customers abreast of operational developments, including a late-January announcement that the company has switched from a domestic denim source to a Mexican mill – operated by Cone Mills.

McMillan wrote:

No lie: the remaining stretch denim made in the USA simply does not meet our high standards … a devastating realization for us. This news has inspired us to begin plans for building out our own denim mill — operating here in Chicago. That plan is at least 4 years away and requires a great deal of work, support, and luck to be possible.

It’s easy to get behind a guy like McMillan and a brand such as Dearborn. I feel the same way about founder Bayard Winthrop and his American Giant, which began in 2012. San Francisco-based American Giant earned cult status when its hoodie was dubbed “the greatest sweatshirt ever made.”

The company is in the process of rolling out the first shirts sewn from American-made flannel in decades. The New York Times chronicled the quest in a lengthy story last year.

Like Dearborn, American Giant has a direct-to-consumer approach. In a Q&A with the Aspen Ideas Festival, Winthrop offered this take:

I think what the internet and e-commerce has allowed for is really a fundamental rethinking of business structures. In our case, our direct-to-consumer brand uses an American-made supply chain, and leverages what the internet allows businesses to do. With that, we can think about building great American products again, and price them in a way that takes them out of the fashion boutiques of Brooklyn and brings them to main street. I think it’s a pretty compelling and revolutionary idea.

American Giant may be the best thing that has happened to U.S. apparel in decades. But while its prices aren’t Brooklyn boutique, they might induce sticker shock among the segment of American consumers who have been weaned on “always low prices.”

Local makers

This brings us back to what Patagonia’s Chouinard said: “Own fewer things but really good things.”

For me, the really good things are American made. Other favorites of mine include Flowfold, in my native Maine, for duffel bags and backpacks; Boathouse in Philadelphia for performance outerwear; Minnesota’s Faribault Woolen Mill Co., which started the year Abraham Lincoln died, for the coolest-looking winter mittens.

Of course, don’t forget your local makers, which Stay is proud to join at pop-up markets including the Harrisburg Flea, York Flea, Creatively Lancaster and Pop Up Ave in State College.

I heard an echo of Patagonia’s Chouinard (his company sells some American-made items but you have to look for them; the company provided me with a list) in a recent Instagram post by Stars and Stripes Collective, which sells U.S.-made clothing and housewares in Sister Bay, Wis.

In part, the post said, “when people buy less, but choose well – it slows down Mindless Consumption and helps people save up for something they really want to buy, but more importantly, something they love – and will take care of – things that can be handed down to the next generation.”

An approach of “buying less but better” – and, yes, sometimes at a higher cost – sure seems like a better bet for Americans than continuing a race to the bottom in an indiscriminate pursuit of ever-lower prices.

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
KidsWomens_Heart_together 2.jpg

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.