Trophy biz back from the ashes

D&G owners lost everything including priceless memories

It wasn’t a choice of moving.

Don Drew recalls the morning of August 14, 2010, a Saturday when his business D&G Trophies at 1517 O’Connor Dr. was gutted by fire.

Though the cause was electrical, so much water was used to extinguish the blaze that the main floor collapsed and the structure was submerged for three weeks.

“Everything was rusted and corroded and they couldn’t pinpoint exactly where it started,” Drew said. “It was just a mess.”

Though he’s unsure the value of the losses, Drew said the total damage from the machinery and trophy supplies that he lost was an estimated $350,000.

“We lost every bit of equipment we had,” he said. “That was 25 years of my business gone.”

Also lost in the fire were personal effects. Drew and wife Mary used the building as storage for Christmas decorations.

Some of those decorations belonged to their son Darryl who passed away four years ago from cancer at the age of 24.

That personal tragedy had given the couple’s a new outlook on life, and Drew candidly admitted it prepared him for the fire.

“It’s the type of thing that would probably devastate a lot of people,” he said. “Stuff is stuff. It can be replaced.

“There are a lot more important things out in the world that you can be upset about but (a fire’s) not one of them,” he added, taking a deep breath. “We had a lot of memories and we lost our son too, and there was nothing else we could do about that.”

Two days after the August fire, Drew was out purchasing new equipment to ensure customers would receive their plaques and trophies. For two weeks D&G etched names on accolades out of a friend’s warehouse, and then a small opportunity arose at 1450 O’Connor Dr.

However, a real obstacle was going from the 420 square metres of their original facility to under 100.

“Trying to produce the kind of business we were doing in that kind of space and reduce it to a quarter, it does have its challenges,” he said “A major challenge is keeping stock on hand.”

With less room, D&G has to courier in materials, without delaying delivery to the customer.

And it’s been Drew’s clients who have been the real heroes over the past year.

“Our customers are very, very understanding,” he said. “I applaud my customers for their patience because at first it was a real challenge but people were very easy to adapt.

“They were there to support us because we’ve helped them out all these years.”

With their customers as their sixth men, it’s hard not to give D&G the Most Sportsmanlike Player award.

“We’ve stayed positive through this whole situation,” Drew said. “It was either that or close the business and I’ve been in trophies for over 40 years.”

At 58 years old, he’s not planning on giving in easily. Much like the solid metal cups he engraves, he’s full of iron will.

“It seems to be in my blood,” he said, with a laugh. “It’s a passion that once you’ve got it, you just don’t seem to get away from it.”


About this article:

By: Brian Baker
Posted: Jul 27 2011 12:11 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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