Champion ownersclose their shop,but stay online

The engraving machine hummed in the back room at 1303 Northcrest Drive on Thursday as Susan Root worked to get last-minute orders finished.

Susan and Dan Root, owners of Champion Awards and Engraving, had planned to close their shop on Friday. But at about 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Susan was still working on more than 330 trophies for Smith River Youth Football Cheer.

"I will still be available until the end of the month," she said. "I'll be available by phone in case people need to pick things up."

In between engraving orders, Root and her husband have been preparing to move. They plan to leave Crescent City for Sparks, Nev., next month to be closer to their family and their grandchildren. But despite the move, Root said she and her husband will continue to have a presence in Crescent City.

Champion Awards and Engraving will continue as an online business and a catalog-based business through the Mail Room and Copy Center next door. Root said customers will be able to contact her business via e-mail. She added that she and her husband will also continue to support the community through donations to local youth sports teams as well as the Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce.

"We are letting all our customers know that we are going to remain chamber members because we want to continue serving the community and helping the community out like we have in the past," Root said. "People will still be able to order through the Mail Room. They will have a catalog and samples."

The Roots came to Crescent City from Nevada about four years ago after visiting friends in the area for 20 years. Susan Root said she and her husband had both lost their jobs when Jim Coop, owner of the Mail Room, told them about the engraving business being for sale.

Root said she and her husband made the decision to move back to Nevada after her aunt died earlier this year.

Champion Awards and Engraving started out as a catalog-based business that was operated through the Mail Room and Copy Center 18 years ago, said Mail Room owner Jim Coop.

"Being in an informal partnership with them I always had a vested interest," Coop said. "One thing they still have above any other online presence is a quick turnaround. Online places don't give back to the community the way they do."

Gina Zottola, the chamber's executive director, said Susan Root has been an ambassador for the chamber for about two years. Ambassadors meet and work with potential chamber members and existing chamber members, as well as run the organization's social mixers.

Zottola said maintaining a presence in Crescent City while in Nevada may be difficult, but because of their involvement in the community, the Roots will be able to accomplish that.

"They're going to really be missed," she said. "They provide an important service for clients and chamber members in Del Norte County. Although they'll be off-site, I think they've solidified their relationships. Many of those relationships will continue because of the way they have conducted themselves so well in the community."

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