Photos (3) View All
Ashley Hesson began creating trophies in March, after she and Nate bought the business.

After running Vinton Trophy & Awards for 25 years, Lee and Barb Smith recently sold the business to Nate and Ashley Hesson. Ashley began operating the business n March, out of their home in Vinton.

“I'm really excited about taking over,” said Ashley. “Barb and Lee have done a fantastic job of building the business into a well--oiled machine that produces high-quality work and great customer service.”

The Smiths, said Ashley, “have been very patient and encouraging while teaching me all the intricacies of what they do.”

Already, she says, she has learned that there's a great deal more involved in making trophies and awards than she had ever realized.

“Barb and Lee have set a high standard, but I look forward to the challenge of maintaining it,” she said.

Online presence

One thing Ashley is excited about adding is more of an “online presence.”

The Smiths had an actual "show room" on their front porch where people could see examples of all their work - products, fonts, colors of metals, types of trophies, etc.

“I don't really have a space like that at my house, so I plan to use a website primarily as a virtual show room. So people can at least see the things Vinton Trophy can do.”

Yet, says Ashley, “there is a difference between seeing something online and feeling the weight of it in your hands.” So, she may consider other show room options in the future.

Community-based service

“I'm excited most to serve the people in a community I grew up in," Ashley says. "I'm proud to own a business that's thrived in Vinton for so long. I've already worked on jobs that happened to be for family (I found out my brother-in-law made it on the Vinton Fire Department when I was engraving new member name plates for them); friends (people I went to school with now working in the community as well); and even strangers, too (the first trophy I ever made from start to finish by myself was for Benton Community's track team -- a team I ran against when I was in school). And that's what I love so much about working in small town Iowa - there are connections everywhere! There's even a family tie between my family and the Smiths! It's distant, and through marriage - but it's there! So the business is effectively staying in the family.”

You can reach Vinton Trophy & Awards by phone at (319)214-1043, by email at, or online at There's also a Facebook page to check out too!

Submit a Comment

Please refresh the page to leave Comment.

Still seeing this message? Presh Ctrl + F5 to do a "Hard Refresh".

Comments (2)

Ashley and Nate, Ken and I are proud to be that family tie. We have been able to watch you learn the business from my folks. We know that you are continuing the dedication to quality work. We wish you success in this new endeavor!
By: Cheri Morrow on April 2nd 1:00pm
Congratulations to Ashley on the new business and thanks to the Smiths for many years of great service.

How about adding some contact info for Ashley.

Jay Lash
Boy Scout Troop 47
By: Jay Lash on April 2nd 1:20pm

To receive each day's headlines to your inbox sign up for our email updates.