In 1950, the business started in the building on the southeast corner of the Public Square in Lima as part of a Pawn Shop named Philip Kohn Co., Inc. Both the building and the pawnshop were then owned and operated by Leonard Faurot.
A son-in-law of Mr. Faurot was an avid tennis player and fan, so from time to time he needed to get awards for the tennis organization. A small corner show case was set up with a display and orders were placed to the manufacturer when something was needed. Betty Numbers, who had been working as a bookkeeper at the pawnshop took an interest in the trophy department. As it began to develop into a sideline, Betty was put in charge of that division of the company.
Mr. Faurot didn't have much faith that it would ever do much in the beginning. He was always trying new trophies since awards were only sold in Jewelry and Sporting Goods stores at that time. The Trophy and Engraving Center began to stock trophies for immediate delivery in the mid-50's and was the only store of its kind in the Lima area for the next few years. In 1960 and 1962, two stores like The Trophy Center opened in town. In the year 2000, there were four shops servicing the Lima area with The Trophy Center being the oldest continuing one.
Betty then now
"We had moved the trophy department into an attic room at the pawnshop when we began to stock trophies. It was not heated and very cold in winter months. When a room that had been rented in the building was vacated and we were again having growing pains, the department moved into a room of its own on Sept. 10, 1966 at 110 E. Market." Betty continued working as bookkeeper of the pawnshop as well as running the trophy business. In March of 1968, the Philip Kohn Co. was sold but the trophy business was not part of the sale. The Trophy Center became an independent business at that time with Betty as manager. Mr. Faurot was only in office between trips to Florida. Sadly, he passed away on New Years Eve 1969. Betty continued to operate the business for the Mr. Faurot's wife and son until they then sold the building and business in 1970.
Betty had approached the family about purchasing the trophy business, but they wanted to sell both the building and business as a package. Other renters in the building at the time were Kohn's (the new pawn shop name), Yellow Cab, and Beltone Hearing Aids owned by Robert Keller. Mr. Keller had been renting in the building for many years. When the building was listed for sale, Betty let Mr. Keller know as she knew he had expressed interest. She had also informed him that if he purchased the package and didn't want the trophy business, she would like to buy it from him. Mr. Keller made the purchase and sold the trophy business to Betty in Sept of 1970. At that time, the business name was shortened to Trophy Center.
Betty's daughter, Deveria, grew up helping at the shop. When Betty's back problems began making it difficult to work, Deveria started working part time in the early 80's, while her children were growing up and later while she attended Lima Technical College getting Associate degrees in Accounting and Business Management.
Betty & Deveria
Also during the 80's, The Trophy Center continued to outgrow space because of newly needed equipment and stock. With little room to spare, the sublimation equipment was taken home and all sublimations were completed there until space could be found. It was then that a basement room in the front part of the building downtown was rented. While still not ideal, it was at least better than home. The next addition was taken by converting the Yellow Cab office when they left the building. It was then that a search began in earnest for a house or building that could be purchased in 1987.
In July of 1988, Mr. Keller had broken his leg and was never able to return to the office and so closed his business. On Jan. 1, 1990, Deveria purchased the business from her Mother. "Mom just didn't feel she could work the long days every day any longer." Although Betty will still work part time when needed. In Jan. of 1990, the pawn shop moved out of the building leaving The Trophy Center as the only tenant. The extra space was utilized when needed as Betty and Deveria were in charge of the building. They continued to look for something of their own.
While Betty and Deveria could have stayed when Mr. Keller sold the building in 1992, they decided to move and began looking even harder for something more affordable. It was then that they came across the building at 1175 W. North. "The building needed a lot of work, but we could make it work without any structural changes." Deveria secured her loan and received the keys on Feb.5, 1993. For the next two months, repairs and cleaning were done, the bulk of it by Deveria's son Thomas. "We closed the shop downtown on March 26, 1993 and opened for business at 1175 W. North on March 29, 1993."
To view more history pictures and newspaper articles as far back as the 60's, click the links below. Please be patient as some files are larger for reading legibility.