Monarch Trophy Studio was founded in 1972 in San Antonio, Texas by John and Sandra Bradley. John had recently returned from serving his country in the Army in Vietnam. John and Sandra opened their trophy shop out of their 1000sf home, with a showroom in the living room and production in the back rooms.
John and Sandra’s hard work paid off and the business continued to grow.
They hired their first full time employee in 1975 and 39 years later, David Branham is still working for Monarch and is the head of our plaque department.
In 1977 Monarch broke ground on a brand new 5000sf building in the Castle Hills area of San Antonio. At the time John thought this would be all the space he needed to accommodate the future growth. Boy was he wrong!
The business continued to grow and in 1984 an additional 5000sf was added, giving us a total of 10,000sf. This would hold us for a while, but not for good.
In 1992 we added laser engraving and sandblasting to our product mix and were one of the first award stores in the country to do so.
In 2000, we added a computerized point of sale and inventory program, one of the first award stores in the country to do so.
In 2001, after almost 30 years in the business, John Bradley was looking toward retirement and sold the business to Charlie and Kathy Drago. Charlie and Kathy were successful entrepreneurs who had owned a chain of drug stores and steak houses among other ventures.
With technology and the internet making its way into the awards business, Charlie saw the internet as the next avenue of growth for Monarch Trophy Studio. Charlie has led us into being one of the premier online awards retailers.
Under Charlie’s leadership we continued our growth and in 2011 we moved into our current 30,000sf state of the art production facility making us the largest awards store in Texas and one of the largest in the U.S. We have also grown to over 50 employees.
In 2014, Charlie and Kathy’s oldest son, CJ graduated from college and joined the management team at Monarch. The next chapter is just beginning…