True PR Story: Topical, Timely (A. E. Schmidt)

In spring of 2008, my client A.E. Schmidt Billiards of St. Louis had a story to tell.  The Schmidt family had owned its business since 1850.  Demand for quality pool tables was still good, but competition from offshore makers was strong.  So was the Schmidt family’s ongoing passion for making a top-notch product.

I contacted a St. Louis TV newsman and suggested that a feature on A.E. Schmidt might be his kind of story.  He agreed and said he would schedule something within a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch agreed with me that the A.E. Schmidt story was a good one for their business section.  Their feature item ran on June 13 and the TV guy backed off.  I’m sure he did not want it to appear that he got his story ideas from the newspaper.

A month later, the sale of Anheuser-Busch to InBev was announced late on a Sunday evening.  On Monday morning, St. Louis citizens were sad.  Even though the Busch family owned just a small minority of A-B in 2008, the perception was that this St. Louis family had sold out our hometown company to foreigners.

I called the TV reporter that Monday morning and suggested he might like to do a story on a family-owned company that had been in business in St. Louis for over 150 years.  This family had resisted numerous buyout offers over the decades because they loved what they were doing.  The company:  A.E. Schmidt Billiards.

A crew was at A.E. Schmidt Monday afternoon at 1:30.  This segment aired at 5:30 p.m.  It aired again on the late evening news and again several times the next morning.  The newsman got “his kind of story,” A.E. Schmidt got some valuable good will and St. Louis folks got a story that made them feel good.


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