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Local couple turns personal setback into professional success with custom awards shop


Local couple turns personal setback into professional success with custom awards shop

By CHRIS LADD

After suffering a critical injury while serving in the Navy, Craig Garton wasn’t sure what he would do next in life. His injury continued to worsen and after some time, even his driver’s license had to be revoked.

He and his wife Janna knew they wanted to work together full time but wasn’t sure what that would look like.

“We looked into doing several types of businesses,” Craig said.

An opportunity to purchase First Place Trophy, an award-oriented business, became available and the couple jumped on it. On April 1, 2012, they took over as owners for the business that’s been in Hendersonville for over 30 years.

“This wasn’t at first what it was cracked up to be,” Craig said. “We’ve turned into something where it is now.”

They put together a plan and refocused their business model.

Part of that plan was to get more corporate accounts. They do work for several of the major companies based in the Nashville area such as Bridgestone/Firestone, Triton Boats, Servpro, and others.

“If a customer has an idea for an award or maybe a problem they pick up the phone and they can talk to us,” Craig said. “They are talking to the owners and not just someone that’s drawing a paycheck. Every dime that comes into this place is going to our family.”

They offer custom engraving, crystal and glass awards, acrylic awards, custom plaques, medals, trophy’s, wood products, and name tags.

Over the years, the husband and wife team has designed some awards for some of the biggest celebrities in all of entertainment. One of the awards that they enjoy working on each year is the Troop Aid Patriot Award. Some of the recipients of this award include Kellie Pickler, Kid Rock, Hank Williams Jr, and KISS.

One of the most memorable awards that the shop has worked were CMA Awards that Kenny Rogers won. The awards were going to be on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and they needed to be refurbished.

After being married for 17 years, the Garton’s enjoy coming to work together every day. Janna greets everyone with a smile when they come in. In the back, Craig is designing awards for a business owner, a ball coach, or a music executive that lives in Hendersonville.

“This works out great for us,” Craig added. “She’s the yin to my yang.”

The duo says they’ve been blessed with the amount of support that they have received from everyone in Hendersonville and all of Sumner County.

“We learned early on that if you take good care of your customers,” Garton said. “It’s hard to run them off.”

 

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