In the time since C&M Trophy opened for business, it has become more than a place to get a trophy engraved.
Celebrating 50 years in April, the Mountlake Terrace business is known for its work on trophies, plaques, engravings and garment embroideries. From Fantasy Football trophies to boot spurs, store owner Glenda DeCarlo is always ready to experiment with new ideas. Her shop is often the place a client will go when they need something done other engravers cannot do.
“I like to think outside the box,” she said. “I love that the other trophy companies send jobs to me.”
What sets C&M Trophy apart from other engraving shops is there is not much they won’t engrave, DeCarlo said
“We engrave guns, we engrave knives,” she said. “We’ll engrave other personal items.”
For DeCarlo, the extra work sent her way is hardly a problem because she loves her job. So much so, that the backroom includes a sleeping cot for those nights she stays too late working.
“It’s my vacation away from home,” she said.
DeCarlo has been the primary business owner since 2016, when she took over C&M Trophy from her father, Chuck Mellinger. Mellinger and his wife Lynda acquired the business from Chuck Walstrom in 2001. The store’s name was derived from the first initials of Walstrom and his wife Marie, until the couple divorced and Walstrom rebranded the initials to stand for Cat & Mouse Trophy.
These days, the family business is not only run by DeCarlo and her family, but also her extended family in the Mountlake Terrace community. DeCarlo said she often receives help from her “adoptive” children who can be found at the shop.
“You can usually see me with a shadow following me around the shop working,” she said about the many kids in the community who regularly come to visit her while she is working.
C&M Trophy has also become a popular place for many kids with little to no work experience to learn responsibility through an after-school job. Gabrielle Larreau, an Edmonds-Woodway High School student who has worked at C&M Trophy for a year, said she had difficulty finding work prior to starting at C&M.
“It’s like they want you to have a job, but they won’t give you a job in order to get experience,” she said.
DeCarlo said she wants to be able to provide kids with an opportunity to learn workplace skills that they can use later in life.
“My other employees aren’t adults, they’re children,” she said. “I’m wanting you to learn organization skills, customer-service skills, accounting skills.”
The shop has also become known by some as a place to socialize. People will come to sit and talk with DeCarlo and her family while they work. Chairs are scattered throughout the shop for people who often spend hours for no other reason than to enjoy the company of the people who work there. Former C&M Trophy owner Chuck Mellinger, DeCarlo’s father, said having frequent visitors was one of his favorite things about running the business.
“It was almost to the point where we were like the local barbershop,” he said. “It’s a warm feeling because it’s nice, comfortable place to come to.”
One frequent visitor was late Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith, who would spend hours talking with DeCarlo and her staff as they worked.
“He’d start in that chair,” DeCarlo said, pointing at Smith’s preferred spot. “Then I’d keep working and he’d just move to the next chair.”
What many may not know about C&M Trophy is they are able to do most of their own work. DeCarlo is a graphic artist and is able to work as in-house digitizer. As time has gone on, C&M Trophy has been to offer more than just engraving service — which only accounts for 20 percent of the store’s orders now, DeCarlo said.
The shop’s laser engraver can laser an image of a family photo. Clients can get color-printed images put on personal items like plaques, mugs and fabrics. They also offer in-house digitizing to stitch garments like letterman jackets, patches and bags using their 12-needle embroidery machine.
What began as a small operation in the Walstrom home has also become an international business. DeCarlo and her family’s work has found its way to Germany, Australia, Iceland, Japan, Sweden and Ireland. The store has catered to some of the most peculiar requests and is not surprised by much anymore, DeCarlo said, including one item in particular — specialty unicorn trophies for Amazon Web Services’ gameday. Always ready to try something new, DeCarlo said she rarely turns any item away — with one exception.
“I will not engrave wedding rings,” she said, adding it’s nothing personal. She just doesn’t have the machine to do it.
–Story and photos by Cody Sexton