Engraving by Lin, a trophy and engraving shop based in western Illinois, was recognized as a Historic Downtown Legacy Business Enterprise by the city of Macomb, where it has sat for almost 40 years. Along with Engraving by Lin, Macomb awarded 12 other businesses with the Historic Downtown Legacy Business Enterprise award, including a couple banks and barbershops.
Lin Stults, the owner of Engraving by Lin, received the award during the Annual Community Partnership reception on Thursday, February 28 at the Western Illinois Museum. According to Stults, it was Kristin Terry, the new director of Downtown Development in Macomb, who reached out after looking into the fact that there were many well-established businesses on Macomb Square. Terry inquired about the length of time Engraving by Lin, and other businesses on Macomb Square, had been in business, and gave recognition awards for the legacy.
To qualify as a Historic Downtown Legacy Business Enterprise, a business needs to have operated on Macomb Square for over 35 years. Stults adds there are few businesses that are over or close to 100 years old. The store she operates out of is 124 years old, starting as a horse bridle and tackle shop along with providing horseshoeing and leather goods to the community.
Stults first began working at the shop in 1975 while it was Arrasmith Jewelry. Through that job, she learned how to engrave. On July 2, 1979, Stults started her own company, Engraving by Lin, shortly after Arrasmith Jewelry closed due to the owners retiring. After all these years, the shop remains in the same location, although it has grown in size by expanding into the basement.
According to Stults, the shop still operates with a 60-year-old New Hermes engraving machine, but she does outsource some projects, such as custom orders that are lasered or digitized. “Networking has helped expand what can be offered through the business,” says Stults.
By networking with other engraving shops, attending engraving shows, and subscribing to A&Emagazine, Stults explains the shop has been able to adjust to changes in the industry. “Customers are always looking for new and different awards, such as glass and acrylic (which I love), plus unique gifts,” Stults elaborates. Over time, the shop has added engraved ADA signage, baby gifts, and more, on top of the trophies, medallions, and custom ribbons it provides.
Customers of Engraving by Lin include Western Illinois University, local schools within the county, summer sports programs and camps, bowling and pool leagues, along with local businesses that give awards. “I have been lucky as we live in an area with several local towns and school districts,” Stults shares.
Her plans for the business are to keep going as long as she can. Stults has had several part-time employees over the years, usually high school or college students, along with family to help run the shop. Currently, she has two other employees besides herself. “I love working with the customers and suppliers – they become like family,” remarks Stults. “It is truly the best job! A positive attitude helps too.”