we are open!!!
Recently I was informed of a company called @Navsmb that is stepping up and helping Small Businesses like ours by offering an opportunity to receive a $10,000 Grant. In order for a chance to receive this grant. I had to face my own heartbreak and tell the story of our small business, Legacy Gifts & Engraving. After reading and looking through some of the submissions from past recipients, I feel it is best to explain Our Story from the top.
My name is Brandi Steeb, daughter of Mike Creel, and Legacy Gifts & Engraving is so much more to my brother, my husband, and I than your local gift and engraving store. The name itself comes from our hearts. I started engraving at 17 years of age for a big box company and fell in love with it. My grandfather did leather work and my father loved woodworking, so metal work seemed to put me right in that line. It is in our blood.
When that company closed half its stores in the US I was offered 2 choices, to find another job or move to California and keep working for them. I couldn't leave Texas or my family but I was heart broken to lose what I loved to do. My father came to me and said, "Well, do you want to go to college or should we open up our own shop?". I almost fainted but answered, "They don't have Engraver's Colleges." He smiled.
We don't come from money but an engraving shop, working beside my Dad was so much more than I could have ever dreamed. So, I did the research, made a business plan, scoped out the equipment I would need and after a few months and lots of bumps, my father opened Today Tomorrow Always Engraving in a tiny store front in Corpus Christi.
Even though we struggled through with not only every day business and family issues but also disasters like Hurricane Harvey, we were making it work, expanding into a bigger building and adding new ways to personalize items and bonding with our customers over Life's most precious moments.
For seventeen years I worked at TTA for my Dad. Honing my engraving skills and learning all I could about what our customers needed from new baby items to wedding and retirements and how to make memories that last. I know I am truly Blessed and so grateful for such a wonderful thing that the hard times are so worth it. Especially when our little girl, Jemma, was born in 2016 with Special Needs. We did a little remodeling so she could have her own little space at our shop to play while I can keep an eye on her and still keep our business going, usually with some help from her Pawpaw or Nana.
Sadly, in September 2019, Daddy passed away and the business went with him. I sat down with my family to decide what to do and it did not take us long. He would want us to keep going and we have to try and keep his Legacy alive. That is how Legacy Gifts & Engraving started, from the ashes of a father's love and a daughter's dream. The family tree in our logo is for our woodworking father and our dear little family. We hope to one day pass Legacy Gifts & Engraving down for generations to come starting with Jemma.
The amount of love and support we have received from family, friends, customers, and people that knew Dad has been so overwhelmingly wonderful and we want to make Dad proud and want to make all of those who have helped in any way proud to.
COVID-19 has hit us extremely hard. Legacy hasn't been in business long enough or have enough employees for a lot of loan programs so being awarded a Grant of this size would not only help us get past the damage the virus has caused, but give us a chance to upgrade our website, change our business plan, hire some much needed help, and give us the ability to serve our community for years to come.
Thank you Nav for this opportunity and for forcing me to write the story I have held in my heart for so long but couldn’t get passed the tears to tell. We will do anything we can to continue our Legacy. A special Thank You goes to Miss Laura and Miss Debbie, two of my mentors who encouraged me to start trying to tell our story not long after Daddy was called home.
Our Dad was an amazing man and this is only a small part of how great he was. Thank you for reading it. ~Brandi