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2/12/2004

Trophy couple

By Candice Ferrette
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — At LTM Designs, owners Terry McCue and Leslie Martin are always recognizing the accomplishments of others.

But with the re-opening of their engraving and trophy store at 829 Main St., they may finally have reason to recognize their own hard work and dedication.

This is because they have expanded their clientele by 30 percent in the last year. This encouraged the couple to revamp their workspace, quadruple their showroom space and invest in the industry’s latest technology.

This husband and wife duo — who started their company in the basement of their home seven years ago — own one of the most high-tech engraving companies of its kind in northern Colorado.

“We just saved all our money,” Martin said, “and kept buying more machines. ... Terry is a wiz on the computer.”

With a new laser engraving machine, McCue said he can now use updated computer imaging software to engrave on a wider variety of media, including coated brass, plastic, acrylic, glass, marble and stone.

“Sometimes, people think we’re playing computer games back here,” Martin said.

But the physical expansion has probably been the most obvious change to customers.

When the owner of the stained glass company next door announced that she was retiring, the couple got the green light to take down the wall that separated the two shops, expanding their 600-square-foot space into 1,300-square-feet.

The couple filled their new space with new machinery to have in-house production capabilities to engrave trophies and awards using all four systems in the industry: computer assisted rotary, laser, heat reproduction and hand engraving.

The hand engraving machine is the company’s newest. “It’s the old-fashioned way,” McCue said. “But we’re just learning how to use it.”

LTM Designs provides trophies for many local sports teams, including the St. Vrain Youth Soccer Association, YMCA sports teams, Niwot Youth Sports and various town organizations from Johnstown to Broomfield.

Joanne Long, head of the memorial committee at the Niwot Methodist Church, said she ordered 40 engraved brass plaques for donated memorial chairs.

“Our congregation is expanding,” Long said. She added that the memorial chairs need to look nice because they will replace the folding chairs that the church currently uses in addition to pews.

Besides trophies and plaques the company produces Braille signs for several institutions and school districts, including Columbine High School.

The couple started their work in the engraving industry at Leisure Time Products, in Boulder. McCue worked there for seven years and Martin for ten before they could live on the income from their own business.

McCue said he bought his first engraver second-hand from a dealer in Wyoming in 1997. “I am thrifty,” McCue said.

Because McCue was a car salesman before he worked in engraving, the company’s first orders were “Employee of the Month” plaques for car dealerships. These are still among the company’s most loyal clients and includes two John Elway locations.

Even with business booming, and their laser machine engraving four times as fast, McCue and Martin said they still work 50 hours a week. But, they recently hired the company’s first part-time employee, “Vic,” who asked that his last name not be used.

The company’s “public relation department,” the couple added, continues to be made up of their two golden retrievers, Nugget and Holly.