Creative Stage Lighting (CSL) was formed in May 1977 providing a facility in New Jersey for rentals, new products, perishables, and services like providing equipment and technicians for events. Now located in North Creek, NY, president George B. Studnicky III ended up founding much more as years passed, and CSL became one of the most respected companies in the industry.
As the company developed, Studnicky found that his company could offer much more to the industry. He explained, “So in the beginning, a 1/3 of our business was faceto- face retail selling, a 1/3 was rentals primarily to club bands, and 1/3 was working for a venue like a state college or a promoter, whether theatrical or music related. Then we had a substantial amount of our business come through mail order. We made all our offerings available through publications like Rental and Staging Systems, and it took off like a rocket, starting in June 1977.”
After the mail order business began to blow up, Studnicky found he wanted to explore more options in the industry. He noted, “As time went by, we began to seek other options so we could leave New Jersey, and at that time we made a decision to not be involved in the over the counter sales side of the business, and work more into the wholesale environment where we’d be selling to business owners. We started to sell products to manufactures as raw materials as well. That was the
Creative Stage Lighting provided lighting for Maroon Five’s tour. foundation of our wholesale distribution side. We also started selling rentals largely to our dealer network, and selling lighting service, whether one night or a whole tour. We’ll go wherever the opportunity takes us, including international.”
CSL fell into one of its biggest offerings to the industry by accident, as Studnicky recalls. “In the earlier years we sold based on availability and not a customized environment. We eventually felt we needed to produce products ourselves to overcome that. As time went by, people saw how we were doing things, and they started to ask us to provide them with similar products. So we began to manufacture those products, and we found ourselves much more equipped to make suggestions and recommendations to the manufacturers in our industry on new product features. Over the years, we’ve had quite a bit of input in a lot of products that have come into the market. We enjoy being able to have the manufacturer’s ear and see what they do with the information we provide them, whether cosmetic or functional.”
Working in manufacturing and rentals provided some challenges for CSL for a few years, as Studnicky noted. “We’d been doing rentals all along, and they’ve matured over time. We concerned ourselves that it might be conflicting with our dealer efforts. Even as we’ve grown more in the touring side we’re not bidding on work outside relationships we’ve already established. We’re not bumping up against our dealers at all. At one point we held back the rental division because we didn’t want to send the wrong message to our clients.”
Then, three years ago at LDI, CSL’s worlds collided. Studnicky said, “Three years ago, for the first time, we had a separate booth for our rental division. Inadvertently, the description published for both our booths was that of our rental division, and we thought that it would confuse our clients into thinking we were no longer in sales or manufacturing. It turned out that our dealers welcomed that we provided rentals and they saw other ways they could demo our offerings or add them to their inventory. We were actually able to help them out. The enormous benefit with our rental division is that because we touch everything we sell, we’re able to help our clients and their customers at highly technical levels, and we can give them solutions to problems that we’ve already overcome. We’ve become known for only associating ourselves with the best of these products. So a little print error actually revealed quite a bit, and that’s when we decided to turn up the heat on our rental and production offerings."
Creative Stage Lighting tests some of High End Systems’ Showgun lights in its warehouse in North Creek, NY.
Existing as a rental company and a manufacturer is somewhat of an anomaly in this industry, but CSL has found the perfect balance, as Studnicky explained. “We’re fortunate enough to have a rental company working with us to help us understand what the future holds in a lot of ways. It’s one thing to get most of your information on the sales side only, but we’re fortunate to get both sides of the coin.”
For more information visit www.creativestagelighting.com