The high school in Meadville, Pennsylvania is home to one of the top-rated hockey teams in the three-state region. Hockey is quite the big deal in this industrial town of twelve thousand. Consequently, Meadville is visited frequently by busloads of students from faraway Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo.
"On Sunday mornings our young Catholic visitors did not know where to attend mass. We needed to get our service times out there," says Tom Peterson, president of the men's club at Saint Agatha's Roman Catholic Church in Meadville. "We want them to come to Meadville, lose their hockey matches, and then celebrate mass with us Sunday mornings."
"Besides," Tom acknowledges, "Our 155 year-old church never had a church sign before. We were due."
With a couple years of pancake breakfasts, chili dinners, and ice cream socials under their belts (literally), the church set about choosing a church sign company to craft a sign worthy of their fundraising efforts.
Up to now this story has been rather typical. Well, not anymore.
When Meadville folks go shopping they know a thing or two about quality manufacturing. Meadville, Pennsylvania is the tool-making capital of the world. The Channellock® calls Meadville home, employing a good portion of the town's population. Many generations of Saint Agatha's parishioners have worked in the Channellock® manufacturing plant and do to this day.
"We are Tool City, USA," boasts Tom, himself a technician who works days manufacturing plastic injection molds for the medical industry. "Meadville has a long history of high-quality, specialty manufacturing. The zippers of the spacesuits that walked on the moon were made here in Meadville."
Tom and the church sign committee set about comparing sign manufacturers. They looked not only at workmanship but materials as well. The offered warranties from the various sign companies were discussed at great length. One could say they were 'Meadville methodical' about their thoroughness. "We had the time," admits Tom. "We had a lot of pancakes to digest."
When it came time to buy, the meticulous Meadville membership of Saint Agatha's looked to Stewart Church Signs to build the sign which would grace the front of their property. "It was for all of the little things," offers Tom. "The care Stewart builds into their product really appealed to our mindset. Steel and aluminum get powder-coated paint before assembly. The vandal cover stays up when you change the message and locks in place when closed. The faces do not yellow or crack over time."
"Stewart signs do not carry a 'Made in Meadville' sticker," Tom points out. "But we wouldn't have a problem if they did."