Absolutely Trophies: Looking To The Future For Small Businesses

BY JOE MARVILLI
Staff Writer

Although somewhat of a newcomer, Absolutely Trophies has the business savvy, the customer service and the community relations to guarantee many years of success.

The Bayside business offers not just an expansive selection of trophies, awards, plaques and more, but it also gives Bell Boulevard another top-of-the-line company that contributes to the community in more ways than just economically.

Queens Tribune Publisher Michael Nussbaum (left) presented a Small Business Achievement Award to Paul Williams (right) of Absolutely Trophies. Photo by Walter Karling

Queens Tribune Publisher Michael Nussbaum (left) presented a Small Business Achievement Award to Paul Williams (right) of Absolutely Trophies. Photo by Walter Karling

Absolutely Trophies came under the ownership of Paul Williams in September 2011, who used to be a customer of the company under its previous owner. Williams ran a nonprofit for 23 years and used to buy trophies from the business. In 2009, the economic recession led Williams to become unemployed for 21 months. The previous owner offered him the business and he took a chance on it.

“He was having some medical issues and was thinking about getting out of the business,” Williams said. “I finally took him up on it, started the business three years ago and it’s been going well since then.”

Although Williams thought his ability as a computer consultant would not apply to the trophy business, his skills in graphic design, desktop publishing, electronic communications and working with different images made for a good match.

The biggest challenges of getting Absolutely Trophies off the ground were updating it for the 21st century and building up enough credit to gain some momentum. The previous owner did not take advantage of computing and online technology, a situation that Williams revised to make Absolutely Trophies more efficient and open for future expansions.

“You have to be able to have the sales to drive your business, to get new technology, hire new people. That’s what my situation was, coming out of unemployment after two years,” he said. “It was definitely a challenge. I was able to build up my credit and my distributors worked with me pretty well.”

Three years later, Absolutely Trophies offers a wide variety of awards for any type of need. Whether it is for sports, school, religion, military service, talent or more, the Bayside business has it. The company has more than just traditional plaques and statues, though. Clocks, gavels, pens, plates, vases and similar pieces are also offered for those who want to give a gift that is off the beaten path.

“I never saw a trophy store as just being a trophy store,” Williams said. “It’s really all those type of other, high-end pieces of recognition that you give to people. A trophy is anything you give as an award. Those are all symbols of recognition.”

Williams said that the factors that keep people coming back to Absolutely Trophies and recommending it to their friends are the business’ fast turnaround and dedicated customer service. With work done in-house and through some reliable partners, he said that the company can get a project done in 24 to 36 hours. The quick and friendly service helps to keep their customers and leads to more referrals, according to Williams.

“Customers are number one. You have to keep your customers happy. We can’t make everyone happy all the time, but we try. If a customer’s really unhappy, we give them a refund,” he said.

Absolutely Trophies has also engrained itself in the Bayside community, with Williams taking his passion for handball and his familiarity with nonprofits to support various high school teams in the area. He acts as a sponsor for talented handball players for YMCA scholarships. Williams added that he greatly enjoys being part of the Bayside community and hopes to be part of it for many more years.

“I love it. I love coming to work every day. Coming to work in Bayside, the sun is shining most of the time, people are friendly. It’s a great community,” he said. “We’ve been in business for three years. I like the business and I hope to be in business a lot longer and hire more people.”

Absolutely Trophies is located at 47-32 Bell Blvd. For more information, call (718) 279-4698 or visit www.absolutelytrophies.com.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenstribune.com, or @JoeMarvilli.