Off the beach in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, CFO of The Trophy Center PA Givens says that although sales are down significantly from last year, he’s grateful to be part of the 15% of businesses that received PPP (Payment Protection Program) funding.
Givens, who told GRAPHICS PRO business is showing 28% of its second-quarter sales in 2020, that despite being on track to end the quarter “50% down in overall sales” since it reopened business on May 11, he sees The Trophy Center recovering. He adds that it “won’t be a good year, but at least it’s not disastrous for us.”
In late March, along with many other personalization businesses with brick-and-mortar locations, The Trophy Center was forced to close due to the spread of COVID-19. It officially closed on March 24 and remained shut down for nearly seven weeks.
Givens tells GRAPHICS PRO that it reopened with 25% capacity, a mandate in order by Florida Gov. DeSantis, on May 11. Now, the state allows businesses to operate at 50%.
“According to our local fire marshall, we can have one person for every 30 square feet normally, so our shop is 2,400 (square feet) divided by 30 equals 80 capacity,” explains Givens. At 50%, that means the awards and recognition shop can have 40 people in its building at a time, which Givens says includes employees. When it comes to showroom square footage alone, the shop can accommodate four people at a time under the mandate.
As far as picking back up, Givens says the shop had jobs waiting to be processed due to the closures and shutdown of production. He adds, “Some of our USA manufacturers were in states that were not allowed to work, and several of them are still not allowed to manufacture. So, the business that is here was here before we closed.”
He says life in the awards and recognition business is a bit more relaxed right now that last-minute walk-ins aren’t as frequent, but the shop is up and running due to its “well-established, 40+ year client base,” according to Givens.
Even before the pandemic, Givens reports sales within little league sports were down due to the participation trophy stigma, so there hasn’t been any loss in that segment. Although other school sports didn’t happen before summer break hit, schools are still recognizing end-of-year accomplishments and school academics. Corporate is still awarding, according to Givens, and although ceremonies are on hold, they’re rescheduled for later this year. The Trophy Center’s entertainment and hospitality business segment is “non-existent this year.”
All that to say, Givens says the shop is enjoying a slower pace, and right now, it’s receiving orders for pantograph engraving for jewelry/keepsake graduation gifts, as well as exploring the idea of offering school spirit websites and personalization for specific groups.
“One of the schools in our area takes kids’ artwork and sublimates them onto mugs and T-shirts and prints on calendars for a fundraiser. This has not been our traditional market, so we will have to see,” he adds. “We have seen a trend in buying local and are working with our county commissioners, school board, chamber of commerce, and other entities in the community to reinforce this concept.”
When asked what’s keeping him motivated and in positive spirits during this time, Givens says, it’s the thought of being able to retire within the next three to eight years and having the time to enjoy leisurely activities like backyard gardening and trying new cooking recipes.
With the change businesses have experienced during these trying times, GRAPHICS PRO wants to share what they’ve learned about the way they do business and how they’ll run things going forward.
Givens says, due to COVID-19, The Trophy Center had to reduce its in-showroom hours, allowing employees to come in earlier and work with fewer interruptions in the morning, a time when it completes most of its computer work. With this change, Givens says the shop has created a more efficient workday and may consider reduced showroom access hours in the future. Along with that, it looks to establish e-commerce and website opportunities.
If you’re interested in sharing your experience as a printing or personalization business owner during this time of COVID-19, please reach out via email to Alexandria Bruce.