A trophy shop in the Bronx with nearly a 50-year history is not locking its trophy case for the last time.
Neighborhood staple, Art Guild Plaques & Trophies, located at 1287 Burke Avenue just off of Gun Hill Road, was rumored to be closing for good after customers complained that the business was unresponsive for over a month.
The shop was originally operated by entrepreneur Jerry Silverman for more than three decades before passing the torch to his son, Seth St. Giles, when he retired in the late 2000s. The store has been at its current location since 1971.
The trophy store, opened in1967, retails trophies, plaques and medals to local businesses, churches, organizations, schools and sports leagues for any occasion.
“They have been a reputable business that I’ve depended on for a long time, but after this month, I don’t know if I can rely on them anymore for their service,” said a disgruntled customer who said that he had done business with them for nearly ten years.
Most recently, he had to fulfill his plaque order through Crown Trophies, located on East Tremont Avenue, after his phone calls were not returned and the business’ security gate was constantly locked.
Crown Trophies, which has been in business since 1988, has seen an influx of customers since the Art Guild Plaques & Trophies’ temporary closing in early September. According to the store manager, his shop saw an increase of at least 30 to 50 more customers over the past month and a 50% increase of customers in September.
Liberty Democratic Association and the Sisters, Servants of Mary, longtime Art Guild clients, had to use Crown Trophies this year.
“Art Guild Plaques & Trophies has been very hospitable to us since we opened – and it’s always been a friendly competition,” said Crown Trophies owner Greg Perry, who said he used to go to Art Guild Plaques and Trophies when he was a kid.
“I certainly wish their business all the best and I hope they are able to pick up where they left off,” he added..
“They’ve always been helpful to us – and if they need any assistance during this time, I am more than happy to help them out,” Perry added.
BronxNet, who was a regular customer of Art Guild Plaques and Trophies for nearly 20 years, said that they relied on the firm for its annual Bronx Excellence in TV Access (BETA) awards.
As of this week, the store’s outdated voice message relayed that the store will be closed on Wednesday, September 7 but will reopen on Thursday, September 8 and Friday, September 9.
St. Giles, the president and a shareholder of the Art Guild Plaques and Trophies shop since 2004, stated that the business was temporarily closed because he is dealing with personal and family matters.
The representative also stated that the business has been and will contact and refund money to any customers who put down deposits for orders, but didn’t receive the merchandise. They confirmed that the store would reopen in the near future, but did not specify a particular date.
“We’ve been part of this great community for nearly five decades and received a lot of support from it over the years,” St. Giles said. “This occurrence has never happened before in our history and I will make sure that this type of situation never takes place again,”