MainStage™ has enjoyed 40 years of success, which we attribute to our customers and the hard work of our employees. Opened in 1981, MainStage™ is owned by brothers Craig and Dean Sternke, who remain very involved in the management of the company.
Craig, President, has worked in the entertainment supply field since 1975. His past experience includes training at the UW-Milwaukee Theatre Department and free-lance scene and lighting design in the Milwaukee area.
Dean, Vice-President, has worked in the entertainment supply field since 1977. He completed four years in the Technical Theatre Program at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, and his background includes free-lance lighting and scene design in the Milwaukee area and consultations for renovation and new construction of theatres and churches. He is a past Chairperson of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology - Midwest Section.
Both Sternkes worked for a Milwaukee, Wisconsin theatrical supplier in the 1980’s, but were frustrated when their employer would not offer new products and technology to the local market. When offered a Rosco Laboratories dealership, they decided to take the plunge; MainStage operations began August, 1981, in a small basement office in Milwaukee. They began by offering color media – the then new Roscolux and full line of Rosco products - and vinyl acrylic scenic paints from Muralo, closely followed by then emerging digital dimmer-per-circuit systems, first from Kleigle Bros., followed shortly thereafter by Electronic Theatre Controls, a fledgling company at that time. Craig and Dean also manufactured stage curtains. The business expanded to Pensacola, FL in 1992 when Dean moved to the Florida Panhandle. The company acquired Stage Lighting South in Memphis, TN in 2004, allowing north to south coverage in the central portion of the country. What was a satellite presence in Houston, TX became a formal office in 2015 which has recently opened an additional warehouse to accommodate rapidly expanding operations. Currently, there is also local presence in New Orleans, LA and South/Central Florida.
MainStage continues to research and offer leading edge equipment to benefit our customers by cost or technical advantages. We bolster that effort with the best new technology from quality manufacturers as the market rapidly changes to LED lighting, motorized rigging and Ethernet based control systems.
In recent years, MainStage work has become increasingly concentrated in the construction arena; new build, renovation and retrofit have become a large portion of our work. That doesn’t mean we have left behind our equipment, supply and service roots, though – our construction customers often turn to MainStage, as their need for product and service doesn’t disappear when the construction is complete.