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.