By Jennifer Farnsworth
If Amanda VanPelt had not stopped into a small Canandaigua shop last summer, she may not be exactly where she is today.
VanPelt found herself at a crossroads in her career. It was a visit to an engraving shop, along with some good business sense, that took her in an unexpected direction.
It led to her opening Saratoga Custom Engraving at 81 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs.
VanPelt said last year she received news that there would be layoffs in the department in an insurance company she was working for. She made the decision to walk away from the company and make a change.
“I likely could have taken another position within the company that I had been working at for 13 years, but I wanted to explore other opportunities. I wanted to be my own boss and do something I was passionate about,” said VanPelt.
While on vacation in Canandaigua she stopped in an engraving shop and had a photo engraved on a piece of wood. She said her immediate reaction was that Saratoga didn’t have a similar type of business
“It didn’t take me long to think back on that moment and realize that was the business I wanted to get into. So I started looking into engraving machines, made a trip out to Detroit to visit AP Lazers headquarters and, within a couple of months, I made the purchase,” said VanPelt.
She had the machine for a few months before she was ready to take it to downtown Saratoga.
“I wanted to get accustomed to it and all the different materials I was able to engrave and cut. When I started looking for a shop I had pretty specific requirements,” she said.
The machine weighs approximately 1,100 pounds, she said. “I needed to make sure it would actually get in the door and had the right size workspace. When I was shown 81 Railroad Place, I immediately knew it was perfect. It had everything I needed and it’s a great location just one block back from Broadway.”
Saratoga Sue is the name VanPelt has affectionately given to the machine. It can precisely engrave materials including wood, acrylic, stainless steel, leather, slate and granite.
VanPelt has even used the machine to engrave on foods like watermelons and burger buns. She said she is working on her own right now but anticipates business to spike significantly during the holidays.
The shop also carries engraved souvenirs with horse-themed designs. They can also engrave for awards, wine glasses for gifts, and mugs for local businesses.
Saratoga Custom Engraving can be contacted at (518) 450-7032 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, The official website, www.saratogacustomengraving.com.