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Supreme Awards celebrates 35 years in Baraboo

November 20, 2018

If you’ve won a fantasy football league, civic award or 4-H horse show in Baraboo in the past 35 years, chances are Supreme Awards has a file on you.

Don’t be alarmed: Owner Jean Sandmire isn’t helping the government assemble dossiers. She keeps files on customers to help both parties remember what trophies and plaques they’ve ordered in the past, making future transactions go all the more smoothly.

“It’s very easy to do business with us,” Sandmire said.

She came into the business as a partner 31 years ago. Founded in a Reedsburg home, it moved to a Quonset hut on Third Street and a South Boulevard storefront before settling on Fourth Street in a building Sandmire bought 24 years ago. “I like the camaraderie of being among other businesses,” she said.

This year, she and her only employee, 18-year veteran Susie Giese, are celebrating the shop’s 35th anniversary. They engrave plaques, trophies and gifts.

“I like to create,” Giese said.

Supreme Awards is the only business of its kind in Baraboo, but faces competition from the internet. Sandmire said her business sets itself apart by keeping prices lower than what shoppers find online, and by taking the time to check names before firing up the lasers.

“You’re dealing with somebody who cares about the end product,” she said. “If we were putting out junk, we wouldn’t be here for 35 years.”

Sandmire and Giese keep up with advances in equipment and techniques, attending industry seminars. The pantagraph is long gone, replaced by laser engravers.

They also monitor customer preferences. Many are opting for artistic glass pieces over traditional paperweights or pen sets.

Intensifying their push to inform the community the shop offers more than trophies, Sandmire and Giese are working to promote their ability to put custom logos on tumblers and other gifts. “People still don’t think of us for that,” Sandmire said.

If all you need is a plaque or a nameplate, she’ll help with that, too. Chances are she has a record of what you bought last time.

“You have to serve the community you’re in with what they need,” Sandmire said.

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