This is the second article in the series profiling the 2007 Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce Annual Award winners.
For the last 32 years Todd and Luz Meloy have helped local organizations and businesses recognize their staff and employees with awards. The tides turned on July 12 when the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce (VTRCC) recognized the couple and their engraving business with an award.
"It was a real surprise, but I was delighted with it," said Luz Meloy, 74, about the VTRCC Lifetime Service Award. "Recognition is what our business is all about," she said. Her husband was equally surprised and pleased that the principles he adheres to in running his business were recognized. "I believe in quality products, very good customer service and a cheerful attitude," said Todd Meloy, also 74.
The Meloys run Crystalake Engravers from their home on Creek Crossing Road in Vienna. The store became a home-based business by accident when the Meloys moved out of the Tysons Corner Shopping Center in 1982 with intent of finding another location for their store, which along with engraving services sold bar stools and other bar features. However, said Todd Meloy, the couple moved the engraving material to their Vienna home and felt comfortable working from there. Over the last 25 years the business grew steadily in terms of customers, in large part thanks to corporations, businesses and government agencies in the area, said Todd Meloy.
Another factor that contributed to the business’s growing customer base is that around the same time, 1982, Crystalake Engravers became a member of the Vienna Chamber. "Membership with the Chamber was important. It gave us a chance to meet other people," said Todd Meloy. The most important part of being involved with the chamber, he said, is that it provided a base for friendships. "It provided an ability to participate in local activities," he said. The friendships would sometimes produce business for Crystalake, which was a bonus.
VTRCC PRESIDENT Diane Poldy said Crystalake Engravers and the Meloys developed a loyal following in the community over the years. "They deliver quality work and don’t know how to say, ‘No,’ to a customer," said Poldy.
Although the number of customers grew over the years, Crystalake Engravers remained a small business. A fulltime and a part time employee assist the Meloys. It is the small business designation that enables Crystalake Engravers to give special attention to its customers, said Todd Meloy. He also studies and attempts to acquire the latest technology in the engraving business, something helped by his training as a retired nuclear submarine officer. Todd Meloy also attributes his naval training to providing quality products to his customers. "My Navy training in general, and my submarine training in particular, drive my commitment to get the job done right," he said.
Luz Meloy said she and her husband have two sons, a daughter and three granddaughters. The engraving business has left an impression on some of the youngest members of the family when they watch the lasers perform the engraving. Luz Meloy said that she and her husband are getting to an age where they are starting to think about doing some traveling, but Todd Meloy is not ready to slow down with the business. The near future, he hopes, would see Crystalake Engravers acquire new technologies and increase the staff size. "We love it here," he said.