2017 In Review

Catch up on the industry's most notable moments as A&E looks back on the year's highlights.

2017 was another year of success for the awards and engraving industry. From anniversaries, acquisitions, upgraded websites, and more, there were many notable events throughout the year. In case you missed anything, take a look at the biggest happenings from 2017.



Condé Systems Celebrates 25 Years of Sublimation Success

In addition to an in-house celebration that took place on January 31, Condé celebrated its 25-years of sublimation success by saying thank you to its customers.

Ace Transfer Celebrates 25 Years of Business

Ace Transfer Company hit its 25-year mark in January. To mark the milestone, the company hosted an anniversary celebration on July 8 at company headquarters. 

TBH Establishes U.S. Subsidiary

After 25 years of offering fume and dust extraction technology internationally, Germany-based manufacturer TBH celebrated the anniversary in a big way. As of October 1, the company opened TBH North America Inc.-a wholly-owned subsidiary of its European counterpart-in an effort to better serve its customers.

Freeman-CMA Celebrates Employees’ 20 Years of Service

Freeman -CMA celebrated the 20-year tenure of National Sales Director Gregory Kolenut and Sales Manager Erich Stock. The company celebrated with a small party within the sales department to commemorate the anniversary.

BOFA Celebrates 30 Years

This year marks 30 years in the fume extraction and filtration business for BOFA Americas. 

All Star Sports Celebrates 25 Years

All Star Sports, located in Winchester, Kentucky, celebrated 25 years in business in conjunction with the new owner’s one-year anniversary of ownership. Originally a sporting goods store, it has recently expanded its offerings to include more awards and personalization options.


Acquisitions and Mergers:

Plastic Dress-Up Company Acquires Western Trophy & Sign Supply

Negotiations for the acquisition of the Portland, Oregon-based wholesale distributor Western Trophy & Sign Supply by Plastic Dress-Up Company (PDU) were finalized and announced on March 6.

5Star Awards Acquires Cutting Edge Engraving

After 28 years of running a successful awards and engraving business out of his home in Raleigh, North Carolina, Owner Matthew Kane announced that 5Star Awards has finalized the acquisition of his business, Cutting Edge Engraving, in alignment with his plans to retire on June 19.

Inside the Integration Efforts of PDU CAT Inc.

Plastic Dress-Up Company (PDU) and Continental Awards & Trophies Inc. (CAT) announced that the two companies are combining forces to create PDU CAT Inc., creating a stronger, more competitive and efficient international organization to better serve customers.

Hodgins Engraving Acquires Impact Printing and Engraving

Hodgins Engraving announced they are acquiring Impact Printing and Engraving, a fourth-generation printing company located in Garfield, New Jersey, that provides engraving, letterpress, foil stamping, thermography, and offset printed products.


Awards, Honors, and Certifications:

15th Annual Recognition Roundtable Honors Outstanding Vendors

The 15th Annual Recognition Roundtable Vendor Appreciation Breakfast honored several companies and individuals for their service to the industry on February 9. Four awards were given to outstanding members, including: VIP of the Year Award, which honored JDS Industries; Vendor Staff Personal of the Year, which went to Ed Hunt of Continental Awards & Trophies; Vendor Sales Person of the Year, given to Annette Nelson of JDS Industries; and Vendor Partner of the Year, awarded to Continental Awards & Trophies. The event ended with a speech by Stephen Capper paying tribute to the members of the Recognition Roundtable for their success in the awards and engraving industry, as well as a Word of Thanks from President Pat Holley.

Veteran-Owned Awards Business Receives Esteemed Government Certification and Establishes Memorial Scholarship Fund

Geoffrey Surprenant of Veteran Awards was deemed Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certified after a year in the application process. He later went on to honor his late wife by giving back to students in need through dye-sublimation diploma plaques-donating 5 percent of every sale to the Barbara Surprenant Scholarship Fund for WGU students.

Mimaki Dye-Sublimation Inks Achieve Eco Passport Certification

Mimaki’s Sb54/310/410 and Sb320/420 sublimation inks achieved the Eco Passport certification from the Oeko-Tex Association. Eco Passport is a mechanism by which textile chemical suppliers demonstrate that their products can be used in sustainable textile production.


Expansions and Relocations:

The Finer Line Expands Facility, Operations

The Finer Line announced its move to a state-of-the-art facility in an effort to accommodate growth, meet customer demand, and expand its current capabilities. The 31,000-square-foot property at 1701 Glenlake Avenue in Itasca, Illinois was purchased on March 31.

Awards Retailer Morgan Awards Relocates

Stemming from the former landlord’s decision to sell the building housing the company’s prior location, Broomfield, Colorado-based awards retailer Morgan Awards relocated to a new shop, 2150 W. 6th, Ste. 5, on October 1.


Natural Disasters:

Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts

Late August, some awards and engraving manufacturers and retailers along the Gulf of Mexico were faced with the devastating consequences of Hurricane Harvey.

SoCal Wildfires Impacting the Industry

As wildfires rage across Southern California and thousands of residents flee their homes, some awards and engraving retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers are confronted with devastating consequences that impact their business. Between power outages, evacuations, reduced staff, and hazardous air quality, many are having to shut down operations.


Rebranding/Web Improvements:

Colorado Heirloom Unveils New E-Commerce Site

Colorado Heirloom debuted its updated website on January 18, boasting a completely redesigned look as well as an e-commerce function, allowing customers to place orders online.

Victory Rebrands, Repositions for Millennial Market

Along with a new look and logo, which was introduced in February, the company launched a redesigned website and smart phone apps for Android and iPhone users on March 19.

A&E Magazine Unveils Updated Website to Enhance Reader Experience

A&E magazine launched an updated website on June 30, showcasing a new look and interface designed to allow readers to discover more content to grow their awards and engraving business.

FAST Launches Improved Website

FAST launched a new full e-commerce website in early November in hope that it can better serve as a resource to customers in their search for adhesive tapes.


Special Events:

Epilog Sponsors Make48 Competition

Epilog announced its sponsorship of Make48 Season Two, a popular 48-hour invent-a-thon. The broadcast is hosted by the Kansas City Art Institute, which consists of 12 teams attempting to solve real-life problems with the creation of prototypes using fabrication equipment, such as Epilog laser equipment and 3D printers.

JDS Industries Gives Back to Local Meal Ministry

JDS Industries served breakfast at the Banquet, a volunteer-based meal ministry in its hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Approximately 20-25 employees turn out several times each year to help the charity.


Staffing Changes:

Gyford StandOff Systems Names Official Canadian Representative

Edmonton-based Comsign Architectural Signage Inc. entered an official partnership with Gyford StandOff Systems after it was appointed the company’s official representative in Canada.


Trade Shows:

THE NBM SHOW in Indianapolis

At the NBM SHOW in Indianapolis, attendees had the opportunity to train, network, and see the latest technology from exhibiting companies in the awards and engraving, sign, and apparel decorating industries. 

THE NBM SHOW at Home in the Mile High City

A&E‘s parent company, NBM, hosted manufacturers and suppliers from the sign and digital graphics, apparel decorating, and awards and engraving industries at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver on September 8-9.

THE NBM SHOW in The Garden State

The August 17-19 event at the Meadowlands Exposition Center featured multiple training opportunities and exhibitions from a wide variety of companies in the apparel decoration, sign and digital graphics, and awards and engraving markets.

THE NBM SHOW in Charlotte

At the NBM SHOW in Charlotte, top manufacturers and suppliers in the awards and engraving, sign and digital graphics, and apparel decoration industries were featured at the Charlotte Convention Center.

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