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UNIONTOWN, Pa.—Education has always been a big part of the mission at STAHLS’. As a global company, STAHLS’ is a large and diverse organization but its core, says Colleen Young, the company’s marketing manager, has always been supporting individual small business owners. That philosophy dates back to the founding of the company by A.C. and Ethel Stahl, when they launched their lettering, screen printing and apparel decorating business out of their Detroit garage in 1932.
The company has grown more diversified over the decades and its passion for education recently took a giant step forward with the opening of a new facility in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the home of STAHLS’ TV.
Educational videos for the company are not new. Josh Ellsworth, who along with his brother, Zach, serves as co-creative director for STAHLS’ TV, says he first began filming instructional videos with a hand-held camcorder in 2008 to help pass knowledge and training along to customers.
But the launch of STAHLS’ TV is a step beyond the videos the company has been posting on YouTube for several years. The investment the company is making is evident in the three state-of-the art broadcasting studios it has built.
“YouTube is great and Josh Ellsworth had more than three million views, but the thing about YouTube is you don’t know who is watching,” says Carleen Gray, vice president and chief marketing officer for STAHLS’.
So in order to more closely connect with its customers, and be able to understand who’s watching its videos so it can be more responsive with content, STAHLS’ launched its online channel at www.stahlstv.com.
Viewers do have to register but the site is free and there’s no obligation to purchase anything, Gray says. “Educational content is what STAHLS’ TV is all about,” she says. “We’re not here to tell you, ‘Buy this, buy that.’”
The site is still relatively new but customer response has been overwhelmingly positive, Josh Ellsworth says.
The company gives viewers several types of videos to choose from, depending on their needs and time constraints. Josh and Zach host a live “STAHLS’ TV Morning Show” every Monday at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Rather than shop tips and techniques, the show focuses more on the business side of things, Josh says, including sales and marketing tips, business strategies, and trends in the various marketplaces the company serves.
The site also hosts interactive videos featuring STAHLS’ representatives. Upcoming topics for these videos, which are about 45 minutes long, include “Five Ways to Elevate Your Company Image,” “Starting a Business with a Heat Press and Vinyl Cutter” and “Eight Fall Apparel Trends and How to Print Them.”
“It’s like a live video with an audience that logs on,” Josh Ellsworth says. “We’ve gotten upwards of 500 decorators on at once.”
And the company has hundreds of “on-demand” videos covering a huge range of topics. About five minutes in length, the level of instruction runs the gamut, from the most basic start-up information to lessons for someone who’s been in business for decades.
“STAHLS’ TV will show you how you can use your laser cutter to become an apparel decorator,” he says.
The company recently held a two-day open house event in Uniontown which featured hands-on demonstrations of various techniques. Classes were held both at the STAHLS’ TV studio building and at the company’s Decorating Fulfillment Center, a 100,000-square-foot facility in nearby Masontown which employs several hundred people. Attendees also were treated to catered lunches and a dinner at a local event center.
Dan Stahl, the son of Ted Stahl and grandson of A.C. and Ethel, spoke to attendees at the dinner and called the rollout of STAHLS’ TV a “remarkable milestone” in the history of the company.