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“This is beautiful,” a customer told Peter Harrison admiringly. “It’s just what I wanted,” he said as he ran his hand over the polished wood, handcrafted commemorative plaque now gleaming in the sunlight on a countertop at Jamestown’s Trophy House, 100 East Second Street, owned and operated by Harrison for the last 6 years.
Great Place to Do Business
“I feel like this whole Second Street and Third Street area has really grown a lot in the last few years. We’ve seen a lot of new blood bringing in new stores. We’ve all worked hand-in-hand with Jamestown’s Renaissance.”
A local resident, Gary Greenland, first opened The Trophy House in 1985 in a small shop beside the restaurant then known as the Ironstone, and moved to Second Street in the ‘90s. Harrison started as an employee in 2002 and credits Gary’s manager as an outstanding mentor in helping him learn the trade. He assumed full ownership in 2011. And over time, according to Peter, the engraving technology has continued to improve, now aided by computers, lasers and much more for ever greater precision and artistry.
A Busy Place
“You’re a lifesaver!” said another one in a steady line of customers at The Trophy House recently. She had come with an important award in mind but in need of an artist’s assistance in designing something entirely special and new. A brief conversation, a guided tour through a trove of options, and she was soon able to leave with a smile and the promise of exactly the trophy she had hoped to create.
Peter Harrison attended SUNY Fredonia as an art major and clearly applies his talent for layout, composition and design to many one-of-a-kind commemoratives and trophies when called upon for something special. His college days followed a 1993 graduation from Southwestern High School and before that Lakewood Elementary school which he said, sadly isn’t even there anymore.
Peter has always lived in Lakewood and Jamestown, and with his wife, Erin, enjoys some extended family still in this area and nearby in Naples, New York, though some others, he added thankfully, recently managed to weather Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida.
The Personal Touch
“My training in the arts plays a definite role in my work,” Peter explained. “I work with my customers to create something new and interesting and personalized. Catalogs and online websites simply cannot do the same thing.” The Trophy House countertops do display 30 or more lavish catalogs as a starting point to stimulate a customer’s creativity, “But sometimes that’s only the beginning,” Peter added. “And after ordering something from a catalogue, try asking for advice or changing something once the work is started. You can’t replace the personal touch.”
Something Completely Different
“I still get surprised by some customers’ requests,” Peter said with a smile.
“Just recently somebody took a swear jar from their office and asked me to mount it on a plaque to give to a departing employee who had become notorious for contributing more to it than anyone else.” Few awards are given for a “rich vocabulary”, but when needed, The Trophy Store can do it.
“Sometimes people bring in guns, hunting knives, ceremonial swords and sabers and almost anything else you can imagine for me to engrave on,” Peter said. “That’s where the personal touch with the customer becomes so important. People bring in all kinds of things.”
The Trophy House also does considerable business-to-business work for local institutions and manufacturers, churches, not for profits, community organizations and schools.
No Place Like Home
“A lot of my friends left college and went to the big cities,” Peter said. “But now, I hear from some that they want to come back and raise their children here. I encourage them to do just that, if they have a special skill or trade.”
“This is a wonderful place to do it,” he insists. “For example, there is nobody probably within a 30 or 40 mile radius of Jamestown doing what I do. So if somebody has a specialized skill and brings it back to a city like Jamestown, the neighborhood probably will not offer them much competition.”
The Trophy House is open for business from Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Walk-ins are always welcome to see the vast array of trophies, awards and signs always on display. To learn more, Peter Harrison says, “Stop in to see me at 100 E. 2nd Street or call me at 716-483-0168.”
To read more articles featuring local businesses around the area, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com.