Your Story Made Here: Directors Showcase International

June 23rd, 2015

News Coverage:

Your Story Made Here: Directors Showcase International

By Melissa Long- 21Alive

June 24, 2015 Updated Jun 24, 2015 at 7:34 AM EDT

Students in marching band have a lot of accessories. There are shoes and hats and platforms and rifles and flags and uniforms. Directors Showcase International is the supplier for almost everything but the instruments they play. Like many successful companies, DSI started in a garage 34 years ago.

Tom Herald, a farmer at the time, partnered up with his brother-in-law, who is a band director at the Univeristy of Illinois and started selling fibreglass flagpoles.

Tom Herald says: " That was our factory was our garage and at night we would try to ship these poles and it was so cold and there was not heat in the garage and so we had to pull them into the family room and start taping and it was just a mess."

Eventually Tom quit his day job and they started the company in earnest…beginning with the one product…flagpoles and now they have over a thousand.

One of their core products is footwear…because comfort is king when you are marching.

Tom Herald says: "When we first got into the business the shoes were just so uncomfortable and the kids were marching and they would have blisters on their feet and it would be absolutely terrible and that's one of the things that we did is we probably brought out the first shoe that was comfortable and it took the iundustry by storm."

Many of the products they design are manufactured elsewhere and shipped all over the world, but they make rifles at their 50 thousand square foot facility in Ligonier,
They start with chunks of wood and cut the pattern and smooth it out and then paint it and then apply the hardware. If only I'd had the custom gloves they also supply, I would have done a much better job twirling the rifle.

There are also sabres…and of course platforms for drum majors who need to be up high to be seen.

It's a family affair at DSI with both son and son-in-law in the business.

Tom's wife, Cyndee, a former marching band member at North Side high school and twirler has a deep passion for the kids who are using their products. in fact, DSI sponsors drum corps international, winter corps international and music for all….all programs that help keep the marching band culture thriving.

Cyndee Herald says: " I vividly remembver walking out several years ago at patriots stadium, they recognized the sponsors and one of the parents said 'thank you guys, we couldn't do this without you and that just touched my heart, because these kids they work so hard. it's always a part of you even after you leave high school or college and those friendships are long lasting."

So next time you are at a game and it's halftime…don't go get a hot dog ….stay, and appreciate the colorful, comfortable, dazzling products that march across the field straight from Ligonier, Indiana.

Categories Unique Businesses