Mills Trophies brings a whole lot more to the table
Running their business from home has worked out just fine for Wes and Beverly Mills.
The two have owned and operated Mills Trophies and More, 634 N. Nettleton, since 2004 and by keeping things simple, and keeping prices down, the business has become quite a success.
“When you have a storefront, you have to pay for rent, you have to pay for utilities and stuff like that,” Wes Mills said. “And with us having our business here, we don’t have to tack that onto our (product prices), so we can be very competitive.”
Wes and Beverly bought the company from Bonner Springs City Council member Rodger Shannon and his wife, Jan, who had owned the business for 18 years before that. Wes said his original intention was to partner with the Shannons in the running of their business.
“I was getting ready to retire and I asked Rodger if he thought the business did a good enough job to support both of us, and he said I’m more like thinking I’d like to sell it,” Wes remembers.
So he took Rodger Shannon up on his offer of purchasing the business, and Wes and Beverly have been keeping shop in a designated area of their house ever since.
Mills Trophies and More specializes in not only custom-made trophies and medals, but also laser-engraved products like Christmas ornaments and picture frames. Wes says they can make about “any kind of trophy you want,” from the very basic post-trophy, to acrylic and resin trophies that are more popular today.
Wes said it’s been a learning process from day one, noting that he and his wife learned a lot about the creation and design of trophies from Rodger and Jan Shannon after initially purchasing the business. Beverly, who does all the laser work, also took classes and learned how to work with a laser cutter through trial and error.
“I think I’m a very task-oriented person, and there’s a job to be done and there’s a start and finish, and it’s something where you can see the results of your work,” Beverly, who also teaches seventh-grade math at Clark Middle School, said of why she enjoys her home business so much. “I think it’s rewarding when people are pleased with the work that we do.”
The Mills work a lot with school and sports teams, taking large orders of trophies and plaques for tournaments and competitions. A recent order from the Goddard Wrestling Club in Goddard, Kan., called for 85 plaques and 17 trophies for an end-of-year ceremony. They also have some of their laser woodwork on display at two craft malls in Branson, Mo. But when the sign says “open,” anyone is welcome to walk into the shop attached to the Mills’ house and place their order; prospective customers can also view the catalogue at millstrophies.com and order what they’d like by phone, by calling (913) 441-1490.
Wes said they don’t do any carving of trophies at his shop, but only the engraving and woodwork. He orders all the actual trophies and parts from several warehouses in Kansas City.
He says he’s proud of the fact he can keep prices down for his customers — prices range from about $4.50 all the way up to hundreds of dollars — and also that he can be a part of making someone feel happy about their accomplishments.
“I like it because, you know, you’re making this for some young sports figure — a wrestler or a baseball player or something like that — and you know they’re going to be tickled to death when (they) see it. And that makes you feel good,” Wes said. “Any kid’s tickled to death (to receive) a trophy.”
Mills Trophies and More is generally open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.