Tracy Awards & Embroidery
A business support company in Tracy.
Markets change and businesses owners must be aware of these changes and adapt their companies to the new markets. This article is about a local company that has evolved to meet changes in customer purchasing trends in order to survive and grow.
Tracy Awards & Embroidery front counter.
Tracy Awards & Embroidery
is a company that has evolved its business and name during its twenty years in Tracy. Although the
company was founded and operated by Bill Prioste as a home-based business
for the first year and a half of operation, he opened his first storefront
about eighteen and a half years ago on Adam Street.
A sample of available plaques.
Another evolution of the company occurred when they went on-line at: www.TracyAwards.com. The addition of their web site has given them national exposure to increase phone sales by bringing in new customers.
Bill has avoided selling directly from the Internet and prefer to use the web site to inform customers about the business, let the potential customer view their product offerings, and give the potential customer an opportunity to call on the phone to place an order. Bill prefers the personal approach to business and likes to speak with a customer instead of just filling automated orders.
A sample of available jackets.
Although I had seen
the Tracy Awards & Embroidery business for many years, I had
no contact with them until Store Manager Danielle Stevens began attending
my “Best Business Practices” seminar series at the Tracy Chamber of
Commerce. It quickly became clear that she seeks ways to improve the
business and is interested in constantly improving the business.
The six-head embroidery machine.
As we moved into the back room of the store, the most impressive sight was that of the six-head embroidery machine. The number of heads on the machine determines how many copies of a job may be run at one time. Fabric for the item to be embroidered is clamped in a special embroidery hoop, which is inserted into the machine.
Rows of thread used in embroidery work.
A computer program actually does the embroidery sewing using the multiple bobbins of different color threads. The computer controls the movement of the embroidery hoop and the image appears as the sewing takes place. The six-head machine allows them to set up and do six pieces of fabric at the same time.
Embroidery machine at work.
A quick move to the other side of the room revealed two mechanical engraving machines used to create custom name badges or engraved plaques. I watched as one of the engravers set up the information in the computer, which controls the engraving cutters to form the image on the name badge. A lot of work goes into the setting up of the machine, which explains the need to charge for the setup of work separately from the unit cost of production.
Computer driven engraving machine.
Setup charges are needed to bring everything together for a production run. For example, an outside contractor who specializes in graphic arts must create graphics when they are not part of their stock catalog or supplied by the customer in a format that can be used. If the company already has a log or setup from previous work with another company, they can usually use these if it can be supplied to them. Providing the materials in a usable format or using stock catalog logo patterns can help reduce the setup costs. Several companies have switched over to using Tracy Awards & Embroidery and brought their own pattern information with them.
Tracy Awards & Embroidery features products from such well-known companies as Ashworth, Ping, and Nautica. The showroom in the front of the store displays many of these products and they can add a company logo, sports team logo, or anything desired on the products to promote the customer’s business, sport, or special interest.
Engraving machine making a name plate.
Tracy Awards & Embroidery tries to provide delivery within two weeks, which sometimes results in long hours to meet deadlines. Their biggest challenge is in keeping the work schedule flowing in the face of constantly changing schedules and deadlines. People often require short-term deliveries or last minute ideas for changes in the design.
Using a local company can help speed the process
of making changes or getting approvals. Having direct contact
with the people who are doing the work, and the ability to stop by and
review specification changes, significantly reduces the turnaround time on
orders or changes.
An example of their silkscreen work.
One example of the convenience of shopping at a single location for a variety of business needs are magnetic business cards. Tracy Awards & Embroidery works closely with the printing company down the street to provide these business cards that have a magnetic backing. These have become very popular items as people tend to keep them longer than regular business cards.
An example of custom embroidery.
The company still provides trophies for various sports
and competitive events. I will be taking several of my older trophies
down to the store to have them reconditioned so I can display them after many years of abuse.
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