Shelli Cope says Engravers, Inc. in Chadron, the business she co-owns with her husband, Trevor, “wouldn’t be anywhere near the success we are now” without the expertise of Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) Consultant Chuck Beck.
Cope says Beck, the NBDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance program consultant for central and western Nebraska, “mentored me in following the path of government contractors. He introduced himself in 2013 and said that if I had any questions or if I needed help to please let him know. And he meant it.”
A five-year-old business, Engravers, Inc. personalizes plaques and gifts such as photo frames and wine glasses, produces small interior signage and nameplates including braille signage, and applies photographs to T-shirts.
When Beck met with Cope, who serves as Engravers, Inc. president, and her husband, the company’s vice president, in October 2013, he explained that the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) had been replaced by the System for Award Management (SAM) and offered to assist in migrating the Copes’ Legacy Account to re-activate their registration in SAM. “I tell people that Chuck has an entire alphabet of acronyms,” Cope says.
Beck assisted Engravers, Inc. with activating its SAM registration and creating a SBA profile for the company. Additionally, he provided information about government contracting and the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program, which helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.
In April 2014, the Copes attended a government contracting workshop offered in Chadron. Beck met with the couple at their office after the workshop to discuss contracting and registering with the Government Printing Office. In September 2015, Shelli Cope attended government contracting and HUBZone program workshops at Chadron State College. After the workshop, Beck assisted the Copes with the HUBZone application. In December 2015, Engravers, Inc. received notification that it was certified as a HUBZone small business.
“It amazes me how many people think you need to pay for this sort of help, but the classes NBDC offers are really useful and open to anybody and everybody,” Shelli Cope says. “We never knew that until Chuck came along.”
Beck also provided information on capability statements and the process of marketing to government agencies, along with market research. Engravers, Inc. has since been successful in contracting with government agencies at the local, state and federal levels.
Through its Government Printing Office registration, Engravers, Inc. has contracted with the Pine Ridge Job Corps Center and the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands office. The company has furnished plaques and customized picture frames, logo items and customized clothing to these federal agencies.
Engravers, Inc. also sells promotional and logo items to state and local agencies including braille signs, name plates, pens, water bottles, badges, customized banners and table cloths.
Cope says she appreciates the continuing relationship Beck has assisting her business. “The minute I call Chuck with a question or concern, he’s on top of it right away,” she says. “His knowledge and the opportunities that come with it are unbelievable.”