Classic Design Home Page

on-line product catalog    classic deals    product search    volume discounts
imprint info    place an order    contact us    request info    home

Classic Design Home Page

Oscar pic - Copyrighted - for fun only.

- A Brief History of Classic Design Awards -

This Page is still in the design stage...

but only because we're still growing and continuing to create "Classic Designs".  Just because a design is a "Classic", doesn't mean it remains unchanged.  The award and incentive market is an ever-changing industry.  Our goal is to work with proven designs, yet offer our customers new and unique awards that will be proudly displayed for years to come.  This philosophy helps keep hundreds of customers coming back, and satisfied year after year.  But anyway, on with the story...
A dog.  Man's best friend, right.  Well, we had shepherds growing up.  Missy and Mara put smiles on the faces of my brothers and sisters, but I always felt like I had the closest bond with the family canines (doesn't everybody).  Little did I know how they would shape my future...

You see, like so many other dog lovers, we took pride in our dogs -- our show dogs.  They had champion blood lines, and were taken to shows for the test.  Although it goes back a few years, I remember Mara bringing home a fourth place trophy at a big show in Chicago. Nobody we knew made the trophy, but that trophy was the result of efforts (mostly Dad's -- and Mara's) that paid off!  That trophy was a symbol of success, one I still treasure to this day.

Why the canine story?  Well, to get to the point, my father took our dogs to a dog club for training.  Dogs (and people) were regularly rewarded for attaining certain levels or degrees. George Ahlstrand, master cabinet maker, wood shop owner, craftsman (I'd put him up against Bob V. any day), and entrepreneur, was only too happy to oblige the club's need for awards.  I recall a few Saturdays assembling bronze German Shepherd castings to plaque boards and affixing the winners nameplates wondering if the winners would be as proud receiving the award as I was in making it.

In essence, that was the beginning of Classic Design Awards.  The jobs were maybe few and far between, but a Mom & Pop store was born.  After a 35 year wood-working career and a five year stint with R.S. Owens & Co. (Manufacturer of the Oscar© and Emmy©), he decided, along with wife, Judith, to make a full-fledge go at the retail end of the trophy business.  It didn't take long for their wisdom and know-how to pay off.  They expressed their "can-do" attitude with virtually every individual, organization, or company they met. People were impressed.  If you've ever seen someone trying to run a business from their home, you would truly appreciate the set-up and organization my folks had in the 1200 square foot basement of their home in Skokie, Illinois.  When I joined them in 1985, they had replaced a tedious hand-engraving machine with one of them "new fangled computer engravers", and man, did that thing fly!  We cranked out some serious awards in that little basement and expanded our customer database to hundreds of satisfied, repeat customers.

In 1988 we added some Inc, bricks and blood.  That is to say, we incorporated, moved to a new store-front location and hired a family member.  Our new shop gave us the additional space we needed and a chance to further organize office and production space to accommodate new employees and equipment.  My brother, Scott, would aid in sales and administration and ultimately become co-owner with yours truly.  

Mom & Dad retired in 1990, but we're still here in Morton Grove - cranking out awards of all types and trying to keep up with the latest aspects of the industry.  It's a never ending battle, but we enjoy doing it.  If you're ever in the area, we invite you to stop in for the 25 cent tour and a chance to see some really neat stuff.  But you'll need your visa card, 'cause we don't accept American Express!  (just kidding - tours are free)

To anyone that's actually read this far - you must be one of our faithful!  We thank you, and all, for visiting us here on the net and for your patronage... may this continuing saga see us working successfully, and in good health, together, for years to come! 

Gary Ahlstrand

P.S.  After years of wanting (and my 13 year old daughter bugging me!), we've decided to get a German Shepherd puppy come Spring time.  Wish us luck - we'd like to win one of our own beautiful trophies!

P.S.S. Abby vom Stolzer Vater Haus, born February 10, 2003 to Enno Vom Haus Kuhn and Sasha Vom Haus Kuhn!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S.S.S.  Check out the page added for German Shepherd Awards !

Kayla Ahlstrand, Editor

yes, we have patriotic merchandise -- click here!

on-line product catalog    great deals    product search   volume discounts
imprint info    place an order    contact us    request info    home

yes, we have patriotic merchandise -- click here!

Copyright 2005-2008 Classic Design Awards, Inc.. All rights reserved.
 Revised: 01/31/23