Monarch Trophy Studio in Hollywood Park celebrated 50 years of business last year, and while its ownership changed hands in 2001, the family-owned business remains a place to find special recognition in the form of a trophy, a special award or plaque, challenge coins, Fiesta medals, or a customized gift, such as an engraved tumbler.
John and Sandra Bradley founded Monarch Trophy Studio in 1972. When the Bradleys retired, entrepreneurs Charlie and Kathy Drago bought the business and have brought in a second generation with their sons, CJ and Jason.
“It’s such a blessing and a surprise what this has turned into,” said CJ, who started working in Monarch’s shipping department in high school, moved into sales and is now president of the company.
The business was built on sports trophies, particularly for schools, CJ said, then Monarch expanded into providing trophies and awards for University Interscholastic League competitions.
Now things have evolved, and the business is most known for its creative and colorful Fiesta medals, CJ said.
“Fiesta medals are a great way to raise money, for community outreach and for schools to raise support,” CJ said.
Fiesta medal sales peaked in 2019 when San Antonians celebrated the city’s tricentennial and before the COVID-19 pandemic, but started making a comeback in 2022, he said.
CJ said the future holds a lot of possibilities for the company. He said the company has worked hard to integrate online sales and use the internet to grow the business.
They are about to unveil a new website, he said, and are focused on building national business and creating a company culture that employees can take pride in.
CJ said his favorite part of the job is playing a part in rewarding people for their hard work.
“There’s something really unique—the psychological effect of giving someone an award,” CJ said.
CJ said some of his favorite projects include working with the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance to commemorate anyone who has provided organs for donation and working with Methodist Hospital to build a donor wall that featured thousands of silver medallions honoring families who had a loved one die.
A more recent project involved Monarch Trophy Studio donating full-color memorial stones to each of the families that lost someone in the May 2022 mass shooting at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School.
“We really tried to help families through that,” CJ said. “It’s not just a product you’re selling; you’re making a difference in people’s lives and putting a smile on their faces.”
16227 San Pedro Ave., Hollywood Park. 210-344-3777. www.mtsawards.com
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Sunday