Providing ‘Supreme’ Trophies, Awards
Walking into Supreme Trophies Inc. on Walt Whitman Road in Melville can bring a person back to his or her childhood in seconds. Take a step into the display room and the wall on the left is fully shelved with sparkly and colorful trophies, just like the ones your team may have received after a memorable Little League season. If you look right, you can find an array of wooden plaques, and the back wall displays plenty of glass tablets for commemorative etchings.
Customers can come into the store and pick out what trophy or plaque they want to order, how many they want, and what they might want the trophies or plaques to say. The awards can be engraved, lasered, or glass etched for personalization – all done in-house.
The trophy fortress provides services to youth leagues, businesses, banks, churches and temples, according to its longtime owner and manager, Dick Mustapich.
“I enjoy what I’m doing,” Mustapich, 78, said. “I meet a lot of nice people and I enjoy talking to people. People come in here and know who I am and I know who they are.”
Mustapich opened his business in 1972. He runs and operates the store by himself, with occasional help from his youngest daughter and grandson.
The trophy maker moved to Huntington in 1959 and built a home. Prior to opening Supreme Trophies more than 40 years ago, Mustapich worked for Grumman for 18 years.
He was also a member of a fast-pitch softball team through a special services program in Washington, D.C. The team traveled to United States Air Force bases around the world to play and provide entertainment for the U.S. armed forces. He pitched for the team for 23 years, even touring Europe with them for two years.
When Mustapich was 38 years old, he decided to retire from playing and opened up Supreme Trophies.
“We were putting on a softball exhibition in Europe and I realized I reached my limit in Grumman and I realized I had to do something different,” he said. “You have to do something where you don’t get bored.”
All trophies and plaques are assembled in-house. Parts are stored in the basement, and in the shop, Mustapich cuts trophy tubing to the ordered size, engraves the writing, and puts the awards together. He has a special machine for engraving and etching, and with a computer he can alter font size and writing to adapt to businesses’ requests.
“We are bombarded at the end of the school year,” Mustapich said. “We get so many academic and scholastic awards in April, May and June.”
In order to prepare for such times, the trophy maker keeps all his orders from recent years at hand, so he can have an idea of what is to come. He currently has pages upon pages of lists of orders he can expect in the next few months.
Since his wife died four years ago, the 78-year-old has shelved his plans to retire.
“It’s a family business that I enjoy doing,” Mustapich said. “After all these years, it’s more or less a hobby.”
Supreme Trophies Inc:
636 Walt Whitman Road, Melville