German Township plant produces souvenir shirts, jerseys for sports fans
While Pittsburgh Penguins fans were celebrating their team's Stanley Cup victory over the Detroit Red Wings on June 12, 2009, a group of workers in a Masontown area plant were going crazy as well, producing thousands of T-shirts proclaiming the Penguins as the champs of the hockey world.
Imprinting the Stanley Cup logo onto T-shirts, Stahls' DFC in German Township produced between 17,000 and 20,000 shirts proclaiming the Penguins as the champions of the National Hockey League. They were able to fill the order, working nonstop, within 48 hours, said Lisa Leone, client services director for Stahls' DFC.
“Your team really has to pull together to get it out” in that short of a time, Leone said.
The team at the Stahls' plant works in a decorating fulfillment center that is part of the imprinted sportswear industry. The Fayette County plant uses heat-print, screen printing, embroidery and digital technologies to decorate jerseys, T-shirts, blankets, ball caps and other items with logos, a player's name, a customer's name or the name of an organization. It also provides sports trophy shops with equipment and materials — such as letters, numbers or logos — to adorn shirts and jerseys, said Daniel Robinson, Stahls' DFC operations manager at the local plant.
Stahls' also has a plant across the Monongahela River in Carmichaels, where it has an imprintables warehouse along with equipment that heat presses the garments, Robinson said.
Stahls' DFC receives the shirts, jerseys and other apparel at the plant, decorates them and then ships the finished product from its facility just off Route 21.
Stahls' DFC is one of GroupeSTAHL's 26 companies, with its headquarters in the Detroit area and its business empire spreading across four continents. The privately held company does not release its annual revenue and production figures.
With its workforce of about 100 that increases to 150 employees during the busy season, Robinson said that the typical turnaround for the products is between three to 10 days, but they move quickly and add evening work shifts when necessary.
“Our competitive strength is that we can turn around our products really quickly, relatively speaking,” Robinson said.
Stahls' licensing agreement with the National Football League, National Basketball Association and the NHL allows them to produce Pittsburgh Steelers jerseys for the fans, as well as the Penguin jerseys. Stahls' DFC receives the team jerseys from China and then affixes the names and numbers of particular players. That means the high-quality jerseys carrying the names of Penguins star Sydney Crosby and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which are sold at concession stands at Heinz Field for Steeler games and Consol Energy Center for Penguin games, are made locally. Robinson said the plant does not produce jerseys with the names of the teams' retired legends — the Steelers' Joe Greene, Franco Harris, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Terry Bradshaw, as well as the Penguins' Mario Lemieux.
For this year's Stanley Cup finals, Robinson said the plant was busy fulfilling orders for Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers jerseys. The concessions at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Staples Center in Los Angeles ordered the jerseys to fulfill customer demand, Robinson said.
“When the teams go into the playoffs, we go into the playoffs with them,” Robinson said.
The actual game jerseys worn by the players on the field or on the ice are produced by other companies, Robinson said.
NFL Draft Day
This was the third year that employees from Stahls' DFC were at Radio City Music Hall in New York City for the first round of the NFL draft on May 8. They were under the gun to heat print players' names onto the jersey of the team that selected them so that the player received the jersey when he was presented to the fans in the hall and watching on live television.
“Sometimes we had only 45 seconds to put the name on the jersey and sometimes only 15 seconds” to imprint the player's name on the team's jersey once the team announced its pick, said Lisa Leone, director of client services.
“When it really becomes tricky is when the clock winds down and they (football team) trade up or down” their draft pick, Leone said.
To prepare for the event, Stahls' employees worked several days in advance. They received a list of potential draft picks from Nike and cut out the letters for the names of the players they anticipate will be drafted.
The Stahls' team also made customized shirts for fans who were at the NFL Draft and wanted a shirt with their team's logo.
“All the cylinders have to be shooting ... perfectly” for the draft day to go well, Leone said. “It was a really fun and awesome experience,” Leone said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Connellsville community cleanup planned Saturday; volunteers needed
- Connellsville wants to fill city-owned buildings
- Sex trafficking survivor to speak at Penn State Fayette
- Residents urged to volunteer in effort to scour Connellsville
- Fayette County prosecutors drop charges filed by indicted ex-officer
- Former Redstone officer indicted in civil rights case
- Coroner identifies body in Yough River as Carnegie man
- Connellsville middle schoolers ‘Adopt a Grandparent’
- Dawson church to present spring smorgasbord
- Uniontown freight train derailment blamed on bad crossties
- Presentation shines light on Dunbar’s industrial past