National Engravers, Inc. entered the award and recognition business in 1993.
The company was founded in the owner’s basement (literally… a desk, a chair, a computer, a phone, some industry knowledge, good connections, a map, a list of local businesses, some Advil, and a dream). His goal was to be the largest awards and recognition products supplier to businesses in the Chicago suburbs where he lived.
- 1997. Outgrew the company's “underground location” and purchased the first building for the business, in Warrenville, IL. At that point, the business has 125 customers and 1 employee, the owner (who answered the phones, made the product, handled shipping, washed the windows, and swept the floors).
- 1998. Acquired All-Star Engraving (established 1954) 3 employees.
- 1999. Began producing all glass and crystal engraving in-house with the purchase of the company’s first laser engraver.
- 2000. Acquired a small ceramic and glass decorating business allowing the company to offer decorated glass with color. Ordered the second laser engraver.
- 2002. Introduced the company’s first in-house designed line of products under the Critsalique and Optique brands. Acquired Elite Engraving (established 1959) allowing the company to expand their customer base outside of Illinois. Launched www.awardingyou.com giving the company a national presence. First global shipments for clients.
- 2004. Purchased a larger manufacturing facility and moved the company headquarters to Winfield IL. 10 employees.
- 2007. Launched first Company Store for large, muli-location client.
- 2008. Acquired Wheaton Trophy (established 1972). Added additional manufacturing equipment to expand in-house services. Converted the business software system to a fully integrated MRP system. 18 employees. Launched Running Awards, a division of awards focused on the running events market.
- 2010. Reached the 5000 customers mark. 24 employees.
- 2011. Introduced LEAN manufacturing to our business model. 30 employees.
- 2013. Our 20th anniversary! We expanded our manufacturing facilities with a larger location in IL. Reached 8000 customer mark about mid year.
- 2014. Purchased the assets of Ostrom Metal and Glass Works in OR (established in 1974) and combined that organization with our manufacturing facility in IL. Reached our 10,000 customer mark right at the end of the summer. Added high volume screen printing capabilities to the IL manufacturing location. Purchased the assets of Expression Wear Screenprinting (established in 1992). Now at 42 employees.
- 2015. Purchased the assets of Creative Awards in Beloit, WI and combined this with our facilities in IL to expand our manufacturing capabilities. Reached the 13,000 customer level in mid-year.
- 2017: Running Awards changes it's name to Running Awards and Apparel as their apparel division sales exceeds expectations and becomes a significant part of the company's product offering. Reached 14,000 customer level.