City of Lakewood story.
Lakewood’s Tacoma Trophy didn’t start from first place.
In 2006, owner DJ Brown had recently retired from the U.S. Navy. After working their way up the military chain of command, DJ and his wife Judi knew they wanted to work for themselves as civilians.
From their bedroom in Everett, the couple began to make and sell printed items and hand-turned wooden pens. DJ would travel down to Lakewood several times a week to meet with prospective military customers. He knew that someday, he’d get the chance to set up a permanent shop.
That time came once the Browns purchased a laser engraver, then expanded their business to offer personalized commemorative items.
Fifteen years later, Tacoma Trophy thrives in Lakewood, selling military plaques, corporate souvenirs, sports trophies, and more. Despite the pandemic, the business is healthy.
“I know of two shops that went out of business due to COVID. For us, business is good. We don’t just focus on one thing. We serve a lot of different customers and sell a lot of different items – that’s what kept us strong.”– DJ Brown, Owner of Tacoma Trophy
The Browns envision the business scaling in the future, but the immediate goal every year is simple: hire one more employee and give someone a job.
Several of the shop’s employees are veterans – Brown says he especially likes to hire former service members when he can.
Thursday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. When asked about the meaning of the occasion, Brown deferred.
“It’s not about me.”
“Every Veteran’s Day, we go out and serve breakfast to the veterans at my American Legion post. It’s been about 7 or 8 years. It’s a time to thank them for their service, for what they did. They left their families and their home for the greater good, and to take care of the country.”– DJ Brown, Owner of Tacoma Trophy