Bet you didn’t know…

I was thinking the other day about who or what organization might be considered our most unique customer.  While we are certainly better known for horse show and dog show ribbons, we also have some customers that tend to fall into the ‘other’ pet category.  It may seem strange, but if you’re having a pet show, no matter the type, doesn’t every winner deserve a ribbon?

Sometimes the ribbon is bigger than the pet (this is a dwarf hamster)

 We also help our customers design awards for hedgehog shows, bird shows, cat shows, even fish breeding championships.  It takes hard work and planning to breed a champion fancy guppy or koi!

Is your hedgehog show quality?

A fancy guppy

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The Backstory on our Banners

It started out like many other projects around here.  We never meant to get into the ‘banner business’ – but here we are.  In 2007, we bought a Roland VersaCamm printer to make stickers.  And we did actually use it to print a huge number of stickers, but eventually we bought other equipment that was even better for stickers, leaving us with a large and unused printer.

The VersaCamm was billed as a versatile printer, and it is.  We use it for window clings, canvas prints, and the subject of the day, banners.  Made with high quality vinyl, outdoor grade inks, and solid brass grommets, our banners are made to withstand the weather. 

Many customers are happy with our 2’ x 3’ or 3’ x 5’ banners, but we can make banners up to 4’ wide up to 100’ long.  Last week our friends at Matouk Textile Works in Fall River, MA had a grand opening for their solar energy project and we made them the largest banner we have ever produced– it was 3’ x 25’!  Here is a picture of the banner, and another showing our machine while printing.

 

 

Tips for saving money on your awards order

Our customer service reps often speak with customers who are on a budget, or looking to reduce the cost of their order from the previous year.  We understand your concern and have compiled a list of ideas that may help you save more than a few pennies.

  1. Take advantage of price breaks.  Depending on the quantity you are ordering, requesting a few more to get the next price break may actually lessen the total cost of that item. 
  2. Order more than 25 rosettes, 100 flat ribbons, or 25 printed neck ribbons per style in order to avoid printing set up charges.
  3. Use a button center for your rosettes.  Custom button centers with your camera-ready design are FREE!
  4. Still need to go with the gold rim or satin center?  Order more than 200 rosettes to avoid set up fees for gold rim and satin rosette centers.
  5. Think twice before adding the date.  Leftover awards without the date will still look new for next year’s event.
  6. Browse our extensive selection of stock designs.  There is never a charge for using a hot-stamped stock die.
  7. Plan ahead.  Especially during the busy summer months, give us 3-4 weeks lead time in order to avoid any premium processing or rush shipping fees

Have another idea that might help save on your awards order?  Let us know in the comments.

Update on our wind turbine!

I know we’ve talked about a wind turbine here on the blog before, but I wanted to let you know about another piece of good news that will help us make our dream of being entirely wind powered a reality.  Today Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri and the Office of Energy Resources announced that Hodges Badge Company has been awarded $156,250 in funding through the Department of Energy’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) State Energy Program.

The Governor himself said proposals “exceeded expectations,” as Rhode Islanders “thought creatively” in pursuing green energy projects.

We were one of 45 businesses, municipalities, organizations, and citizens awarded money, which was granted based on job hours generated by the project, total energy production, and cost effectiveness.

The 225 kilowatt turbine will be put up behind our Portsmouth factory and should cover 100 percent of our Rhode Island facility’s power needs, making Hodges the first manufacturer in Rhode Island to be entirely run by renewable energy.

Update: we are featured in a story in today’s (4/12) Providence Journal- click here.

Hodges’ Semi-Annual Blood Drive

Last week, 20 Hodges Badge employees rolled up their sleeves for a good cause: the company’s semi-annual blood drive for the Rhode Island Blood Center.  Since whole blood can be divided into red cells, platelets and plasma, our donation of 20 pints could potentially save 60 lives!

For more years than most employees can remember, Hodges has partnered with RIBC to host a company drive.  “It’s an extremely worthy cause,” says Lee, our Human Resources Director.

If you haven’t given in a while, or are considering giving blood, think about this– according to the Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds.  In Rhode Island alone there is an average need of 280 pints per day.  Furthermore, 25% of all people will require blood at some point in their life.

If you live in Rhode Island, you can find a donor center or blood drive on RIBC’s web site.  Outside of the state, check out where you can give at www.redcrossblood.org.

New Equestrian Products- Check ’em Out!

For those of you that were reading carefully, you may have noticed a few new products slipped in to our 2010 Equestrian Catalog.  At Hodges we try to keep an eye on new and different awards that stand out yet still fit in with our long-standing commitment to quality.

At the top of the list is our new selection of Pewtarex™ plates, bowls, and trays.  (Side note- I just love the horse print along the rim!)  These hand-finished pieces are a hefty and durable award or gift.   For dog lovers, watch for the dog line of Pewtarex™ coming out with our new Dog Catalog in May.  

This is the Pewtarex 5-3/4" plate

The other major addition is our new line of trophies.  All sizes of equestrian trophies are available in black faux marble, ruby faux marble, and walnut finishes.  Trophy tops come in a variety of English, Western, gaited horse and breed designs.  Prices start at just $6.00 and include engraving on the attached gold plate.

This is the 12" trophy with Ruby Red finish.

We have also introduced a new rosette, the Malden.  With Dorset points inside a 6″ ruffle, we think the design is a classic.  Last, but not least are our multicolor stock ribbons.  With fun, creative designs, like Dusty Bottoms and the Clean Pony Award, they are a great award or for children in your riding program, camp, 4-H group or Pony Club.

The Malden

 

So cute!

Getting Excited for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

Anyone who knows anything about eventing has heard of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.  Even if you don’t event there’s a good chance you know about the only CCI Four Star competition held on U.S. soil.  Taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington from April 22-25, the event is also being held in conjunction with the Kentucky Cup Test Events for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Three of us here at Hodges are very excited because we’re taking a trip to be part of the action up close.  With dressage tests on Thursday and Friday, the Cross Country on Saturday and the Jumping Test and awards on Sunday, it looks to be an action-packed long weekend. 

With an impressive list of horses and riders entered for the event, the level of talent is high.  American Olympians Karen O’Connor, Phillip Dutton and Amy Tryon, among others, will compete against Britain’s William Fox-Pitt and Oliver Townend, who is attempting to become only the second rider to claim the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.  After winning the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the Burghley Land Rover Horse Trials in 2009, the pressure is on to take the title and a $350,000 prize, in addition to the event’s own prize money.

Oliver 'Ollie' Townend aims for the Grand Slam

Sound exciting?  Want to join in on the fun?  You can view the full schedule through the RK3DE website, and tickets are still available online.  You can buy a single day admission if you can’t make it to all four days.  From my own experience, finding a local hotel room might prove harder than getting tickets, so get planning!