Hanging up his tools: Dixie Trophy owner retires after 30 years

Andrew Decker stands in front of trophies in his shop, St. George, Utah July 7, 2014 | Photo by T.S. Romney, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – For the last 30 years, Andrew Decker has been, for many, an unsung hero in the community of St. George. Many have seen his work without realizing he is the one behind it. Now, after three decades, Decker is retiring and preparing to move on to a new chapter in life.

A long legacy

Since the early 1990s, Decker has been the owner and operator of Dixie Trophy, located on Bluff Street in St. George. A community mainstay while so much has changed around it, the store has existed in the same location since it opened.

“Thirty years ago, I was the only shop in town, and it stayed that way for the first 10 years,” Decker said. “I spent the majority of my time making little league trophies and missionary plaques.”

Decker said he has loved making his customers happy. He recalled a time when he received a call from a mother whose son had just received his first little league trophy. She found Decker’s business sticker on the bottom of the trophy and had to call him up and thank him, because her son went to sleep with his trophy that night.

Unsung hero

“Andy Decker and Dixie Trophy has probably indirectly touched a good majority of St. George residents over the years,” Howard Simpson, a longtime friend and neighbor to Decker, said. “If you have received a little league trophy, a missionary plaque or even, in some cases, the nameplate you wear at work, there is a good chance Andy Decker was the one who made it.”

Simpson added that Decker is a very humble man, and he said it astounds him how many people every day see the fruits of Decker’s labor without realizing where it came from.

“Sometimes I can’t resist saying something, though,” Decker said. “One of the things we have begun doing is engraving nameplates for business. I’ll go to a restaurant and tell them, ‘Nice badge,’ to have them look at me confused just so I can say ‘I made it.’”

Changes over time

Things have changed a lot since Decker’s shop opened 30 years ago – when St. George was much smaller and not as fast paced. The demand for Decker’s product was so low at times that it was a struggle, he said.

“But as the population grew, so did the demand,” Decker said. “Now, there are several trophy shops in town.”

Decker said he is shocked at how much technology has changed the way shops like his do business. When he started out in the business, he used a diamond tipped engraver. About eight years ago, he upgraded to a laser engraver.

“It’s extraordinary,” Decker said. “Jobs that used to take me 15 minutes now only take me two minutes.”

Decker said he is going to miss coming to work every day, and he’ll miss putting smiles on people’s faces. But he is excited to start the next chapter of his life. He and his will wife leave to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint on Aug. 1. They have been called to serve in Salt Lake City.

Dixie Trophy will continue on under new ownership.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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