Engravers makes gifts, preserves memories
Shelli and Trevor Cope love the small-town atmosphere and lifestyle of Western Nebraska. After running a construction business for 28 years, they decided to open a retail business in Chadron, providing unique, personalized products and a small-town level of service to their friends and neighbors.
Engravers, the name of the business, gives an idea of what the Copes do. They can personalize a variety of products to make a one-of-a-kind gift for anyone.
“I got into it because I got tired of trying to find something somebody didn’t already have,” Shelli said. “You walk around Wal-Mart and ask yourself, ‘What does this person not have that Wal-Mart carries?’ When we got into this we were asking what is Mom going to like, what is Grandma going to like, what can I do for my best friend that she’ll always remember.”
The Copes can do engraving, sublimation (printing color—like photos–on items) and sandblasting. For most small jobs the Copes handle all the personalization and printing in-house, themselves. For larger jobs, like mass quantities of promotional items, they outsource the customization because it’s more economical for them and their customers.
While they carry a variety of items that can be personalized in their store— plaques, coffee mugs, name plates, coasters, puzzles, t-shirts, Christmas ornaments, etc.—they also do truly custom engraving on things customers bring in. But they do use their best judgment. “There are some things I won’t do,” Shelli said. “If I think it’s not replaceable or if I think it won’t work or won’t look nice, I won’t do it. Grandma’s crystal bowl, I’m not touching.”
The Copes do whatever they can to make sure the gift they are creating is one that will be given and received with joy. “I want my customers walking out of here excited to give this gift. We work with our customers to find out what someone will like. Sometimes that takes five minutes, sometimes it’s 30 minutes, but before long we have the perfect gift designed.”
Some of the memorable gifts they’ve helped make a reality include a coffee mug with all the grandkids’ names—in their own handwriting—on it; Buck knives with brands, messages or names engraved on them; Christmas ornaments with the grandparents’ wedding date or wedding photo on them, and many others.
Once they get the gift designed, they work hard to make sure it turns out the way it was envisioned. “If there’s a problem, we can immediately fix it in the store,” Shelli said.
They also work with their customers to make sure the whole experience is positive. “Last year, we were at the store until 8:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, because that’s when the customer could get off work to pick up that present.”
Shelli said their favorite part of having a Main Street business is getting to know the customers. “They’re just good people.”
One of the challenges has been dealing with mentality that someone can get the item cheaper online. She points out that the cost difference is usually fairly small, and there are no shipping charges.
Shelli said supporting small businesses is important to her, “Just to keep us all alive. We all still like to eat. I think there’s a lot more in our smaller communities, but we don’t take the time to stop and look. I think you can get just as much quality in our smaller communities as you can in bigger ones.”
You can find Engravers at “Engravers of Chadron” on Facebook, by calling (308) 432-8371, or stopping in at 230 Bordeaux St., Chadron, Nebraska, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday (December hours)..