Lake Country Pennysaver acquires trophy, plaque business

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2020 at 11:24 am

Barb Navarra owned First Impressions for 25 years

Photos by Tom Rivers: Barb Navarra holds two trophies that are typical of what she made with First Impressions. She has sold the business to Karen Sawicz, owner of the Lake Country Pennysaver and Orleans Hub.

ALBION – The Lake Country Pennysaver based in Albion has added another business, First Impressions.

Barb Navarra of Albion started that business 25 years ago. First Impressions has a line of trophies and plaques. Navarra has retired from the business.

“It is a good fit for the Pennysaver,” said Karen Sawicz, owner of the Pennysaver, which is based at 170 North Main St. “It will stay local.” ( is also owned by Sawicz and the Pennysaver and Orleans Hub share many of the same staff.)

Navarra was at the Orleans County 4-H Fair about 26 years ago when her daughter, Katie, won a trophy for her horse-riding skills. Navarra noticed the trophy came from a company outside the county and the trophy seemed cheaply made.

She thought the kids deserved better. She did some research, bought an engraving machine and connected with a supplier for trophies and plaques.

Navarra wanted quality merchandise – brass name plates, and marble bases for the trophies instead of particle board or plastic.

The business quickly grew with First Impressions supplying trophies for five school districts, as well as many local fire departments and organizations.

“I have always enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s been 25 years and I’ve loved it.”

Nicole Mrzywka, left, and Will Trembley hand out trophies last July 27 during the Orleans County 4-H Fair. First Impressions in Albion provided the trophies.

She would often do the engraving of the name plates on weekends or in the evenings when she was home from her job as a math teacher at Albion. Navarra is retired as a full-time teacher but continues as a tutor for the school district.

She wants to spend more time with her two grandchildren – and also have more time for her garden.

She said the spring is the busiest time for First Impressions when schools give out more of their awards.

She has trophy tops that feature basketball players, runners, football players, cheerleaders and other sports. She also sought out an array of animal tops on trophies for 4-H’ers who win showmanship contests – everything from pigs to dogs to cows.

For more information about First Impressions, call the Pennysaver at (585) 589-5641.

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