Tuesday, November 19, 2019

New Makeover in the Showroom!

               It's not every day you get a nice makeover in the showroom.  For us here at Loria, it's been decades (literally).  But when it rains, it pours (also, literally).  Our roof withstood enough rain  for the last 30+ years for it to merit a new one.  This made it possible for us to finally give the interior ceilings a makeover, which in turn lead to fresh, new carpeting throughout the awards showroom.  We re-arranged our displays for a more spacious customer experience as well.  It looks great and has garnered compliments from our through-the-door customers as well.  

             Just thought we'd share this with all of you out in cyberspace!  So, if you're in the area, please drop by!  Otherwise, you can always access us online at either our awards website or our gameroom websiteThanks!

Friday, October 25, 2019

All Crystal Is Glass, But Not All Glass is Crystal

One of the crystal "eagles" on a black marble base,
available here at Loria.
Here at Loria, we strive to offer a wide variety of awards, spanning many different materials and designs.  Among the most popular, over the years, has been the attractive look of glass and crystal awards.  At a glance, there doesn't appear to be much of a difference in the "look" of the material.  But that's at a glance and not a very close look, as we are about to have in this post.  Since our variety of glass and crystal awards just about run the gamut in price-points, it only makes sense to explain why this is.  It's actually a fascinating foray into the world of crystallography and geology.  But don't worry - we won't require you to sit through something comparable to a sixty-minute Smithsonian Channel special on the subject.  Just some fun-facts should suffice in explaining the difference between glass that is just glass and glass that is crystal.
               In a nutshell, the reason for this difference is because all crystal is glass, but not all glass is crystal*.  Glass is a generic term applied to all types of glass.  But crystal is a sub-category of glass with certain properties that other types of glass do not have.  Therefore, they cannot be accurately classified as "crystal".  The general classification of all forms of glass being "glass" is derived from the dictionary definition of the word:  "a hard, brittle substance, typically transparent or translucent, made by fusing sand with soda, lime, and sometimes other ingredients and cooling rapidly".  
The classic look of the crystal
obelisk on a black base.
               But the material known as "crystal" is a unique form of glass, and really the most organic form of it, as it develops within the earth and is mined from the earth - unlike glass which is completely man-made using various ingredients.  Of course, ultimately, the designs that you see in our finished glass and crystal awards are designed, engineered and manufactured by people.  But the actual materials are quite different in how they arrive at the award designer's table.  Naturally forming crystals are mined from crystal caves much like mining for precious gems.  
               One the most prolific if these crystal caves is located in Mexico.  
The Cave of the Crystals (or "Giant Crystal Cave") is a cave connected to the Naica Mine at a depth of 300 meters, in Naica, Mexico (in the Chihuahua region).  The main chamber contains giant selenite crystals, some of the largest natural crystals ever found in the world**.
               Scientifically, true crystals are pure substances whose atoms, molecules or ions are arranged in an ordered pattern, where they extend in all three spatial dimensions.  The purity and orderly design of true crystals recall the metaphoric expression of something being "crystal clear".  This can only come from nature.  Nonetheless, there needed to be some kind of definitive threshold for determining what is "crystal" and what is not crystal in the marketplace.
"Cave of the Crystals" (or the "Giant Crystal Cave")
in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico. 
               *According to the European Union in 1969, three specific criteria were established to define "crystal" in the marketplace:  lead content of at least 24%, density of at least 2.90 and a reflective index of 1.545.  The required minimum of 24%  lead content is certainly the most widely recognized distinction among most crystal dealers and crystal awards dealers, as to what separates a particular glass item as "crystal".  Also due to this lead content of at least 24%, there is a very noticeable weight difference when holding a crystal award versus a non-lead glass item of comparable dimensions.  
               The knowledge of this property difference is crucial in concisely informing our customers of what they are paying for when they see the noticeable difference in price.  ("Here, hold the two pieces and you'll feel the difference...", so to speak.)  When a customer marvels at the difference, this also reveals that the customer is concerned not only with the visual impact of an award, but the weight difference.  Why should this matter?  Personal presentation.  When the customer is personally presenting the award at a formal ceremony, and budget is less a concern than impression on the recipient, weight matters.  It's like the topics that carry more weight than others in conversation.  They make an impact and attract more notice.  It just carries more weight (pun totally intended).  Not only that, but the visual brilliance of crystal is far more impressive than glass, specifically when it's sufficiently illuminated.  Light shot through optically flawless faceted crystal (or "cut crystal"), refracts and separates into the colors of the visible spectrum, much like a prism - which makes the purity aspect of crystal something to be coveted.
Egg-shaped glass award, with a swirling,
multi-color glass embedment, on a black
glass base (part of the "Art Glass" award
series at Loria).
              Nonetheless, not to sleight the wide variety of non-crystal glass awards, there are advantages to glass that is not directly mined from the ground.  Man-made glass compounds can be manipulated to the point of composing mixed-media awards that cannot be achieved with mined crystal.  Take, for example, a series of awards known as "Art Glass".  This is one very popular series here at Loria due to the uniqueness of the look, which can only achieved using glass compounds.  Also, as is the case with glass products versus crystal products, they meet the needs of the more budget-conscious customer.
               On that point, it can be said that not all glass awards are the same either because all crystal is glass, but not all glass is crystal.  Furthermore, when it comes to the world of awards, it's crystal clear that there's more to it than meets the eye.

*Information referenced from "Recognition Source" magazine.
**Information referenced from Wikipedia.com.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

What Does Independence Day, the First Moon Landing and Loria Have In Common?

"Washington Crossing the Delaware"
by George Caleb Bingham
             Last month, we marked two very significant events in the history of the United States of America.  One was our July 4th Independence Day celebration, which annually reminds us of the very first day in our nation's history.  This year we celebrate the 243rd anniversary of that all-important day.  The reverberations at the forming of this new nation were cataclysmic throughout the European world and beyond.

               The other significant event was the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by the Apollo 8 astronauts on July 20, 1969.  This milestone of truly epic proportions captivated the world at the time because it was, as Neil Armstrong so famously said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.".
The first lunar landing in human history,
by the U.S. astronauts of Apollo 8 (July 1969).

               Back on earth, we at Loria share at least one important quality with both of these world-changing events in human history.  We may not have effected any sea change in the political landscape of this planet.  We may not be a nationally recognized household name or be anything that even remotely resembles a global phenomenon.  But we do have one thing in common with our nation's founding and the first moon landing - the spirit of independence.  

               I refer to the fact that Loria has always been an independent company, family-owned and operated since our founding in 1912.  The company founder, Verniere Loria, was a southern Italian immigrant who came here with virtually nothing to seek a better life for himself and his family - something tens of millions of people have done before and since then.  This ties into one of the main reasons why this nation was founded as well - to create a society where individual aspirations and achievements can be the building blocks of a prosperous and free society.  It would not be used as a the tool of serfdom, ruled unilaterally by a monarchy of unchecked power, but as a place that the Declaration of Independence so poignantly identifies as a place of, "...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.".  We would no more return to foreign colonial rule, but become the exact antithesis of that - a constitutional republic.  
The founder of V. Loria & Sons, Verniere Loria,
second from right (circa 1920s).

               Over the course of the next two centuries following the American Revolution (and the politically seismic effects it had on the West), the U.S. would go through many horrific battles and threats to this grand experiment.  Nonetheless, it would survive even the greatest threat to its existence (The Civil War) and thrive, by continuing to attract people of all backgrounds in search of a better life and the freedom to work for it.  In the process, it would also attract the greatest talent the world had to offer, which would ultimately culminate in what only the astronomers of the ancient world could dream about - putting a human being on the surface of the moon.  This meant travelling upward and outward into space - approximately 250,000 miles from the surface of the Earth.  

               It takes a certain faith, wisdom, courage and consummate "can do" attitude, in conjunction with certain God-given abilities to break away from the greatest empire in the world (at the time) and form a new nation as it does to develop and deploy the right technology and personnel to send people to the moon.  It takes these attributes to embark on a mission to create a way to for a man to travel to and from outer space and land on the moon safely.  It also takes these attributes working together in harmony to leave the country of your birth and family upbringing, and go to a completely foreign land that holds the promise of fulfilling such a life and livelihood.  All three of the aforementioned achievements, though varying in scale, have much of the same principles in common, which is embodied in what we call the "spirit of independence".  

               From a socio-economic perspective, it was the independently owned & operated businesses that became the economic foundation of this nation at its founding, initially culminating in the Industrial Revolution of the mid & late 1800s, and evolving into the all encompassing technological world in which we live now.  Even though our company here in Yonkers carries products and services that are more of a traditional nature than all the tech that dominates society today, we at Loria (like all companies these days) have still benefited from the massive breakthroughs in the tech world, including the constant use of e-mail communications and the  creation of our custom-made, e-commerce website.

               Now even though we extol the virtues of American independence and the great nation we subsequently became by way of unfettered freedom (as we should), there is still a 'dependence' of sorts that is required for any of these achievements to get off the ground and continue - dependence on those who make it possible.  

               The American Revolutionary War for independence from Great Britain was still 'dependent' on the immeasurable courage and sacrifice of the lowly soldiers who were willing to risk their very lives to see this fight successfully fulfilled.  NASA's map to the moon was dependent on the gifts and talents of those who were willing to sacrifice most of their waking hours to put those gifts and talents to work in the the most concentrated and rigorous ways possible. 
V. Loria & Sons, on the corner of Bowery and
Kenmare Street, on the Lower East Side of
Manhattan (circa 1970s).
Loria Corporation, though infinitely smaller in scale to the Revolution and the moon landing, was still dependent on the courage and sacrifice of one Italian immigrant willing to take the risk of starting a new business in a foreign land.  Even so, suffice it to say that none of this would continue for another moment for us here at Loria if we did not acknowledge the fact that we are always dependent upon
our customers.  Ultimately, the spirit of independence has to be tempered with genuine gratitude in order to truly appreciate the blessing that independence brings.
~ Roger V. Loria, Jr.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Variety Is At the Heart of the Awards Business

       Being in the awards business for about sixty years, you see lots of changes in taste and various stylistic trends that come and go.  Some of these trends come and go for practical reasons (i.e. too expensive to produce, not competitive in the marketplace anymore, etc.).  Sometimes the industry just needs something new to spark new interest.
       But whatever the state of the awards industry happens to be at the time, the need for recognition never wanes.  It is always present.  People need to be recognized for their accomplishments (whether they know it or not).  Of course, that innate need keeps those of us who are in this business...in business.  Moreover, that innate need is always there to be satisfied, even outside the realm of the awards industry.  
       However, speaking in terms of the "business of recognition", the task of satisfying that need (whether it's corporate or personal) is usually not initiated by the person being recognized.  The reason I point this out is because that person in being entrusted to make these selections on an annual basis that he/she believes the recipient will like and/or meet the standards and tastes of, perhaps, a committee of people.  Sometimes this person will establish an aesthetic and stick with it annually, and sometimes he/she will be looking for something new each year.  Either way, there has to be "something for everyone", whatever the aesthetic taste, whatever the occasion.
        Therefore, it is the duty of the awards industry to be diligent in creating new ways to provide people with "expressions of recognition".  On that point, it is variety that is at the heart of the awards business (as it is for just about any business).  Here at Loria, we present a selection that maintains the "classics" in awards, like the "loving cup" and the "achievement torch", as well forging new avenues of recognition, like the abstract designs that predominate  acrylics and glass & crystal.  Not only that, but it's never been easier to place your awards orders through our safe & secure e-commerce websiteLoriaAwards.com
       So, if you're in the market for letting someone know how much they're appreciated or how much they achieved, go no further than Loria - where wide variety and attentive service will make it easy for you to make that happen!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"How Important is Recognition" (Redux 2019)

               This post is one that can be posted any time of year, no matter the season or occasion.  It's an ever-relevant message that transcends the calendar.  It's also a message that I wrote in an article almost twenty-five years ago, when we were physically printing paper awards newsletters (remember them?).  Even though the circulation format is different from then, the name of the newsletter is the same today, in our current digital version, as it was in our printed version, a quarter of a century ago - as some things don't necessarily have to change.  Now even though some of the athletes mentioned in the original article may not ring a bell to some readers today, the overall message still rings true.  So, here it is (again) - this time in "cyber" black & white (and red, of course, for direct links to our website)...

"How Important is Recognition"
               Imagine, if you would, the World Series without the Commissioner's Trophy.  Imagine the NHL Finals without the Stanley Cup.  How about the Super Bowl sans the Vince Lombardi Trophy.  What's the big deal?  On the surface, they're just pretty metal statues in sports that are passed on from one team owner's office shelf to the next.  Then why is their acquisition, though difficult to accomplish and fleeting in duration, so coveted every recurring season?  Why do the writers seek the Pulitzer and stage actors the Tony?  What is it about the Nobel Peace Prize that carries so much global honor and prestige?  In a word: symbolism.
               Accolades such as these and awards of any proportion symbolize all the sweat, all the effort, all the trials, heartbreaks, challenges, hurdles, and shortcomings that come with the journey to true excellence.  This may sound overly dramatic, but imagine their absence.  Imagine finishing at the top of your trade and having no tangible, physical representation of your achievement to remind you of the memory, to compel you to further action, to reinforce your confidence, or to restore your faith when future challenges square their shoulders against you.  From the thrill a child may get from a "gold star" in elementary school to their first Little League trophy to earning a college degree, the general idea is the same; recognition - that is, recognition of themselves as well as by those around them.  The emotive impact of recognition is a critically important quality to acknowledge and maintain in every walk of life.  It's just as integral to our self-esteem as any form of acceptance.
               Recognition can be a simple "thank you" or a pat on the back.  It can be a heartfelt "congratulations" or a "high-five".  It can be a bittersweet "goodbye" or a hug.  But better yet, it can be an actual symbol of that gratitude, admiration, or farewell wish.  The expression of recognition is an expression of giving.  It represents the intrinsic value of our own talents, skills and abilities, then immortalizes the accomplishments they produce.  It is to the seeking of excellence as the peak is to the mountaineer.
               The expression of recognition comes in many forms, and at Loria, these take the shapes of marble, brass, lucite, crystal, bronze, jadestone, onyx, pewter, walnut, rosewood and so on.  The expression of recognition is, in the proverbial nutshell, what we provide at Loria Awards - and such an expression can be attained no matter what the occasion or budget.
               By the way, imagine the Oscars without "Oscar".  Would Spielberg have been thrilled?  Take this past winter's Olympics, less the medals.  Would Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen have noticed?  Well, we all know these answers.  Let us just remember the importance of recognition and let us, at Loria Awards, help you express it.
-Roger V. Loria, Jr. ©1994

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summertime, A Time for Vacation AND Recognition!

Summertime is a time for vacations, but it's also a time for recognition.  Whether you spend your vacation time at home or take a change of setting, it can be a fun time of recognition that will compliment very special memories for years to come.  A more "relaxed" form of recognition usually predominates this time of year (as it should be), but there are many opportunities for recognition while we take the time to re-charge the batteries.  There is still occasion to "recognize" those we with whom spend our precious summertime moments.  
               Though we still have to work, we hopefully still have some portions of time to commemorate those very special occasions.  Whether it's a friendly competition of recreation during a family reunion, an organized league of summertime sports (like softball, baseball or swimming), special summer camp events, or simply for a "job well done" (for whatever that "job" may be), there are moments worth beholding with some form of recognition.
               That's where we, at Loria, come in.  In our safe & secure, e-commerce website, you can easily browse and order whatever fulfills that form of recognition.  With hundreds of items from which to choose, we make it as easy as possible to make those expressions of recognition happen.  Just in case your "perfect" award defies categorization and is not found on our website, please e-mail us  at CustomerService@LoriaAwards.com, or call us at 1-800-540-2927, for some "special-order" options.  In any case, we pride ourselves on providing the right award for the right occasion, for whatever budget works for you, and for whatever season it happens to be.

Friday, April 6, 2018

A Special Kind of "Company For All Seasons"

We can truly call our company "a company for all seasons".  To be precise, such a title can only apply to companies in places that actually have four seasons!  Now we're not among the many "companies for all seasons" that landscape in the summertime and plow snow in the wintertime.  Nor are we supplying swimming pools in the summertime and fireplaces in the wintertime.  But we are still in fact "a company for all seasons" - just not the usual type.
               As a U.S. business in northeast region of the country, in which there are sharp and extreme changes to each season, we certainly qualify for such a title.  For those not familiar with this area, it's a region in which the temperatures can be in the single digits in the wintertime and be pushing triple digits in the summertime!  Even the predictability of those extreme  weather patterns have become somewhat puzzling in recent years.  Heck, it was 37 degrees (F.) this morning with a light mix of rain and snow falling, which would be fine if today wasn't April 6th!
               So that said, this post may only be of great interest to New Yorkers, New Jerseyites and New Englanders, along with much of the Eastern Seaboard.  This may also appeal to Upper Midwesterners, Pacific Northwesterners and Rocky Mountain folk.  The post may be of great 'irrelevance' to most of California, the Southwest, the Deep South and  Hawaii - but I digress.  
               As those who may be familiar with our company (or who have read previous posts in this blog), we are basically 'two-companies-in-one'.  But it didn't happen as a matter of concern for having a 'summer-ready' business in the summer and a 'winter-ready' business in the winter.  In fact, winter and summer aren't even our strongest times of year- spring and autumn are (and that happened progressively in a very personal way).
               As shown on our history page, we were originally a purveyor of hand-crafted pool-tables on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City.  But the founder's son personally loved bowling so much (at one time belonging to five leagues on a weekly basis), that he extended that passion into the company's business.  The sport's popularity was escalating on an unprecedented scale at the time in the 1940s and 1950s.  So it turned out to be quite a wise move and the growing pool-table shop on the Bowery also became the first call shop for bowling balls and supplies as well.  At one time, we had lines out the door and around the corner for the most popular bowling ball brand of that era (Manhattan Rubber), which were expertly fitted and drilled by none other than the founder's son himself!
               Now this was all well and good.  But as we discovered, there is an ebb and flow in the popularity of recreational sports, sports leagues are ultimately seasonal, and businesses (meaning: the people in business) pay bills year round.  Bowling leagues at that time of great popularity were predominantly "trophy leagues" - meaning that winning teams were awarded trophies at the end of each season.  The founder's grandson picked up on that as an opportunity when it was time to expand our business and expand our reach in the greater New York metropolitan area.  In fact, he picked up on it and took it a few steps further.  It was nice to see people who bowl being recognized for a job well done and be able to capitalize on that.  But aren't all competitive sports conducted and concluded this way?  Also, don't all people have a need to be recognized for a job well done?
               Those questions would be answered definitively when our Yonkers store opened in 1959.  Subsequently, Loria would become the most popular supplier of bowling trophies in the New York metropolitan area.  This eventually leads to building an in-house production shop for the manufacturing of every type of award product conceivable.
               Two moves and fifty-nine years later, Loria continues in Yonkers, New York, as an established and well-recognized, fourth-generation family business.  Even though the original NYC location was eventually closed in 1998, we have retained the trade of our company's founding (pool tables, pool-table supplies and service).  We also expanded into previously uncharted territory with the introduction of recreational darts in the 1990s, as well as expanding our all-purpose recognition business - a division that has become an integral part of our company.  Since its introduction in the late 1950s, our recognition division has grown from supplying trophies to bowling leagues to literally providing "awards for all occasions" as well as innovative, in-house engraving services.
               Even though the bowling division was subsequently discontinued after roughly fifty years, due to drops in the sports popularity over the years, it deserves a nod of gratitude as it was that division which subsequently opened the door to our recognition business - a part of our company that has expanded exponentially over the years and remains perpetually as the steady, predominant staple in our company.
               What's more, and perhaps the most important point of this article, is that even though we are indeed a "company for all seasons", we do not selectively do one thing in one season and something else in another season.  We are here year-round serving the needs of our customers in both our original pool-table/pool-table service division and our expansive awards/engraving division.  As I mentioned earlier, we are still in fact "a company for all seasons" - just not the usual type.