CANFIELD, Ohio – Steve Stack recalls it was a meeting with a friend of his from the popular home improvement show “This Old House” that inspired him to launch a new idea and an unexpected business opportunity at the company where he works.
Stack, the director of new business development at Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods, is today nearly one year into shows and podcasts produced at Baird’s new Studio 3B – a repurposed and renovated shed on the company’s grounds in Canfield.
“Little did we know the communication avenues that would open for us,” Stack says. “Today, with our marketing partners, iSynergy, we’re producing podcasts and ‘Build It with Baird,’” a how-to and do-it-yourself program found on YouTube and the company’s website.
“We’re having a lot of fun back here and we wanted it to be educational, informational and of some type of service to the community.,” he says.
The studio has unintentionally become a “nucleus” of opportunity for the business, Stack says.
“We didn’t realize what we were creating but we have a very broad customer base,” he says. “This little studio allows us to develop content and distribute content to all of our consumer audience.”
Stack says the project started about two years ago and content has been produced for nearly a year. In the meantime, he’s had to learn a whole new set of skills related to the world of content and video production – a world he previously knew little about.
The shows have featured a variety of professionals and celebrities, including Cleveland sportsman and radio personality, Mark “Munch” Bishop. Guests share knowledge on a range of topics, including skills, ideas, materials and creating how-to videos.
“I have been with Baird [Brothers] for an extended period of time,” he says. “A couple years ago, I would have never thought I would know about lighting, cameras, videography and sound. There have been a lot of great milestones.”
Stack, a Baird Brothers employee of 40 years, says the most rewarding aspect of these shows is that they present an opportunity for the company to interact with people in the community.
And there’s more to come, Stack says. He recently traveled to the sand hills of Nebraska and a town with just 152 residents. There, he and a team met with a new partner, the Outdoor Channel, for a show called “Renovation Hunters.”
Stack said in the near future, clips and content of this encounter will be available on Baird’s website, https://contentstudio.bairdbrothers.com/.
Josie Puskar, vice president of marketing and art director at iSynergy, oversees the creative department for print, online and video content. She says the design for the website was inspired by a Roku-type design.
“When we started talking about the studio, we wanted it to be a bit different of an experience,” she says. “We didn’t want it to be a difficult website. We brainstormed and thought that an interface like a Netflix or Roku would be pretty cool to have people go to a platform. There, they can choose the show and choose the episode and they’re tagged on YouTube to filter right into that channel.”
She says while she’s been a part of local media, she has never been a part of a national television channel like this before.
“It’s been super exciting,” she says. “Seeing this room be an empty slate for what it is now, and watching Steve get to experience and meet all of these new people, and getting onto the Outdoor Channel has been really exciting for us.”
A studio virtual tour and other features can be viewed in addition to the videos at Baird Brothers’ website. Although Baird Bothers has now expanded to other locations, Stack says he still attributes much of the company’s progress to the local area.
“I would like to thank the people of the Mahoning Valley,” Stack says. “They’re where we grew up.”
Pictured at top: Josie Puskar, art director and vice president of marketing for iSynergy, works with Steve Stack, director of new business development at Baird Brothers, to produce the podcasts and videos.