STIRLING Trophies, the trophies, cups and medals specialists in Ballymena, have been hit by the sports shut-down.
Former proprietor Don Stirling, whose daughter Dawn is the new owner of the business, is not too bothered -
"We will be back when the time is right," he said. "We have many loyal friends who have been using us for decades. And when sport is given the green light to return I am sure they will be paying us a visit again to get their usual items."
Stirling Trophies, at Queen Street in Ballymena, have 35 years experience in the trade.
Normally for them this would be their busiest time of the year.
"Yes, around May and June we are kept more than busy," outlined Don.
Primary, Secondary, and Grammar Schools along with Colleges in the Mid and East Antrim area, for example, use Stirling Trophies to acquire their sports days Cups and medals.
And end of season in hockey, rugby, football, in fact all sports, saw the clubs make their annual trek to Stirling Trophies to get the silverware and trophies for the their annual prize occasion.
All this has been put on hold following the Covid-19 outbreak which has literally brought the world to a stand-still.
"Believe me, having to shut shop for a while is very much a minor detail when you take into consideration what is happening all over the world," outlined Don.
"I do not think things will ever be quite the same again. But we will have to work along side the regulations and hopefully at some stage people will be able to call safely at the shop, wanting to use our items once again."
Don said they are working with customers spanning three generations.
Although Stirling Trophies has put business on hold Don positively points out -
"We will put up with what lies ahead. But we do not want to return too soon and maybe put lives at risk. It is vital that everything, and everyone, is totally safe, with social distancing etc in place, before we are up and running again."
Very well known
Stirling Trophies is certainly very well known in the local area, and further afield.
In the last couple of seasons Ballymena United qualified for Europe, and the Queen Street location was one of the main ticket outlets! They also sell United scarves, hoodies, caps and bobble hats.
Of course Don has several decades involvement with the Sky Blues, as secretary, and more recently Vice-Chairman.
"The only time Stirling Trophies closed was for public holidays," recalled Don.
"But there is nothing we can do about the coronavirus pandemic, except making sure that everyone is safe. These are unprecedented times, but believe me Stirling Trophies will be back."
Stirling Trophies make use of production techniques and processes that match the contemporary requirements of today’s trophy market.
They look after the prize evenings of every sport you could name all over County Antrim.They offer a wide range of trophies, cups, medals and rosettes at competitive prices, and also provide engraving services on a variety of metals such as stainless steel, brass and copper.