Wilmington, Delaware will welcome a new enterprise at the end of the summer: The Pine Box. This soundstage on the 7th Street Peninsula will be available to rent to build sets, practice performances, and test out sound and lighting designs. Video and lighting studios and office space will also be available. The Pine Box is the brainchild of entrepreneur Scott Humphrey, president of Light Action Productions.
“Light Action is a production company, and The Pine Box is a production and rehearsal facility for the industry Light Action already provides services to,” said Humphrey. “Artists and their groups will be coming to our facility to rehearse and prepare for their productions and tours, and they can either rent equipment locally from us, or bring their own. Think of companies doing pre-production on a Broadway musical or about a band that’s about to go out on the road.”
Humphrey already has a diverse list of corporate clients who could find the new production facility useful — Red Bull, Major League Gaming, AT&T/DirecTV, film, tv, political campaigns, Broadway, and concert/live touring acts.
The 150,000-square-foot facility on 20 acres of land will finally bring Humphrey’s Delaware employees and businesses together. As of right now, Humphrey has offices and equipment spread between New Castle, DE, the Airport Industrial Park, and the Chase Center. In the new facility, Light Action Productions’ warehouse will occupy 90,000 square feet, along with 30,000 square feet of space relegated to conference rooms and design, video, and lighting studios. Another 5,000 square feet will be reserved for office space, and the final 25,000 square feet will be for The Pine Box.
“We’ve looked at moving to Wilmington for a while, and we really could not have done this project anywhere else,” said Humphrey. “Warehouse property is hard to find.” Humphrey also appreciates the location’s proximity to the Chase Center, a major client.
Humphrey is also enthusiastic about what this venture will bring to Wilmington. “I think this space will bring a sort of organic energy and lots of opportunity to the area. Artists who come here to use The Pine Box will stay at hotels and eat in restaurants. Delaware has its appeal. Once you find what you love here, you love it here.”
Humphrey has been bringing innovation to Wilmington for years. He came to Delaware from Detroit, Michigan in 1983. In 1986, out of the back of a van, Light Action Productions sprung to life from Humphrey’s experiences designing lighting for touring bands such as locals Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers, Robert Hazard, and the Johnny Neel Band, and others such as Cyndi Lauper, Joe Piscopo, and the Kinks.
His businesses expanded to manufacturing — Applied Truss and Electronics in Newport News, VA and Staging Dimensions in New Castle — when he could not find the staging and production elements he needed.
While Humphrey was able to maintain his manufacturing businesses during COVID-19, closures and restrictions hit Light Action Productions the hardest and significantly delayed the opening of The Pine Box.
Humphrey was able to keep The Pine Box project going because of lack of debt and the resilience of his employees. Humphrey went to his employees early on and asked if they wanted to keep going forward in this line of business. “I wouldn’t have continued on if my employees weren’t in it,” said Humphrey.
Humphrey places a high value on his employees. He credits the identity of his businesses to the passion they bring to their work, and many have been with him for a long time. His vice president, Paula A. De Luca, has been with him for 35 years. Out of his 130 employees in Delaware, he only had to lay off 20 during the pandemic. Many of the remaining ones were able to be kept on because of construction of The Pine Box since there was no venue work.
There is now light at the end of the tunnel: Allowed attendance capacities are increasing and mask mandates are being lifted. Light Action Productions is being contracted for the commencements that are once again taking place. The Pine Box is on schedule to open in August.
“We’re a luxury,” said Humphrey. “We’re the first thing people get rid of, but the first thing they want back.”
City of Wilmington Office of Economic Development (OED) The City of Wilmington was instrumental in facilitating the sale of the acreage to Mr. Humphrey. See what the OED can do for you and your business. Contact them at (302) 576-2120 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow them on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Original post from the Wilmington Office of Economic Development