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Venita Smith, C & J Trophy and Engraving

  • Broadcast in Business



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Venita and her husband, Duwayne, own C & J Trophy & Engraving, a family business.  The couple makes it work by setting serious boundaries.  Nestled between the University of Memphis campus and the Orange Mound Community, one of the largest and oldest black neighborhoods in the country. They purchased the business and property had been in business for over 30 years. The startup risk was low, but the stakes were high since they knew nothing about the awards and recognition industry.  For the first few years, The Smiths didn’t change a thing.  Fortunately, Venita had experience in retail and operations management and her husband had background in color proofing and lithographic photography, so they threw caution to the wind and went for it. And, eight years later, the rest is history.

Her first job, was at the Memphis in May International Festival as Secretary. That position would lead becoming its Operations Director for 10 years. That led her to become the Director of Operations at the National Civil Rights Museum.  During her 16-year tenure, she assisted with two renovation projects and two expansion projects all while managing the day-to-day operations of the 40,000 square foot facility, 13 full time staff members, security, housekeeping and IT contractors.  Venita retired in 2014 to focus more on the family business.

With her father owning a shoe repair business for over 30 years and her mother, who was a beautician and owned her own salon, Venita was destined to become an entrepreneur. Venita watched her parents as they worked together like hand and glove to provide a comfortable lifestyle for her family. They managed to work together as a team, like she and her husband Duwayne. Venita is the brain and Duwayne is the brawn.

C & J Trophy and Engraving * www.cjtrophy.com * (901) 452-5393  *  3444 Park Ave. Memphis TN 38111