After working in journalism for 28 years, Gino Donato was looking for a new challenge. Around the same time, the owners of Xcaliber Trophies, Sandra and Barry Lind, were ready to retire. Located in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, Xcaliber produces not only trophies, but name tags, medals, commercial signs, promotional items, and more.
Donato knew the owners of Xcaliber for a long time. “Barry worked at the newspaper when I first started there. I was always coming in here getting plaques made for my hockey teams and stuff,” Donato explains. “I mentioned to him, if you want to sell, let me know. And it just kind of worked out that the newspaper offered us buyouts and (Sandra and Barry) were ready to retire.”
Donato purchased the shop on October 15, 2018 and has been there ever since. He still does freelance photography for various publications and companies, along with running Xcaliber Trophies with his wife, Lillian.
Working for the paper, Donato covered a lot of awards ceremonies and special recognition events. He felt drawn to take over Xcaliber because he wanted to get into the business of making people feel good about themselves. “It’s a positive atmosphere here,” he states.
The Linds stayed on for a few months, but little by little, they started coming in later and gave full reign to Donato. They are still on stand-by if Donato ever needs to call them for the odd question. “They pretty much kept records of everything they’ve ever done here, so it’s fairly turnkey as long as you know how to operate the equipment and stuff like that,” Donato adds.
Donato explains that “the greatest thing I have learned is how to come in and run my own business. I’ve learned how to operate the (Newing Hall 300) engraver and do sublimation. It’s all interesting stuff and you can be creative by doing stuff for your customers layout-wise. It’s a lot of fun.”
His favorite part about running the store is operating the engraver. Eventually, he would love to purchase a laser engraver, and maybe expand its sublimation products. “I'd like to get into special gifts maybe for weddings and stuff like wine glasses. I think there is a market for that kind of stuff,” Donato finishes.