Awards & Engraving

June '19

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Page 69 of 84

A&E JUNE 2019 • 67 However, Anderson has taken it head- on, purchasing a laser machine just a few short months ago, and as she continues to learn the ins and outs of the awards and personalization industry, she is excited at the prospect of growth. A SIMPLE CONVERSATION… OR TWO It all started with a conversation. And then another. Then a few more. Gustave Anderson, Shantel's husband, would regularly meet with one of the bankers in town to discuss its pulse and other happenings. The banker is the one who mentioned Star Awards & Signs (as it was originally named) was for sale. "We had heard from a few people in our social circles as well that the business was for sale and was going to close," Shantel remembers. "People were wondering where they were going to go for their awards and name tags." After Gustave met with the original owner, Randy Kerr, he liked the business vision and what it provided to the community. "When deciding on the business purchase, a large part of our decision came down to Randy's willingness and desire for the business to suc- ceed," says Shantel. "He stayed on to provide personal daily training for a month after the sale and to this day is still available to answer questions that may arise." Since taking over, the Andersons have done some major changes, though the shop has kept its physical location. The first update was made to the logo, followed 18 months later by the name change. "We changed the name from Star Awards & Signs to Star Awards & Promos to better encompass the expansion into promotional products," Shantel explains. But she's quick to point out they didn't want the business to lose its roots, either. "The name recognition of 'Star Awards' has been key to maintaining business continuity and the brand." The family has also done a shop reno- vation, though Shantel comments that will always be a work in progress. "We decided an update to the showroom was necessary as it had not been updated for probably over 15 years," she elaborates. "The major pieces are finished and now it is a matter of adding the little details and updates as we go." And then, of course, came the laser. "We determined that it was time to upgrade our equipment from just the rotary engravers we had right after purchasing the business," Shantel states. "However, as a new-to-the- industry set of owners, we had to determine how to afford paying for the laser, which would grow our business." That meant spending almost two years learning the market, researching the brands and types of lasers, and generally getting a sense of the laser business. Reagan studiously watching the laser work. IMAGE COURTESY HANNAH ROBINSON

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