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Business with a Heart of Gold

January 23, 2023


In July 1994, Randy Raymond’s father was approached by his neighbor who asked if he wanted to purchase his trophy shop. Knowing nothing about the awards business, the former Kern County Sheriff’s Officer said “yes” and quit his 20-year career in law enforcement to start the family business.

Twenty-eight years later Randy and Megan Raymond now run Raymond’s Trophy & Awards with a small, 10-person staff. The business has become a fixture in the Bakersfield Community, providing quality work and a handshake guarantee on everything they produce. However, it has not been easy staying in business for almost 3 decades as unexpected challenges like a global pandemic brought uncertainty to the business.

In 2020, Randy Raymond turned to Valley Strong Credit Union and friend Deanna Blaise, Valley Strong’s Senior Vice President of Member Business Services, during the pandemic to secure a small business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. Despite having their business account with another local bank, the small business owner knew he had to act quickly and find a resource that could get them what they needed to withstand the economic downturn. “When PPP loans came out, everybody’s business was struggling, and we needed help. With Valley Strong it was like, no problem, here you go. It was fast. I realized we needed to think about moving our business over,” said Raymond.

In 2020, they did just that, and have since leaned on the Credit Union to help the business overcome obstacles and come of age. With the raymonds trophy exterior business struggling amid the pandemic, Randy turned to Valley Strong to acquire a personal loan so that the shop’s employees continued to receive a paycheck. “Usually, you get a loan and they run you through the ringer and 6 months later you’re still signing paperwork. With [Valley Strong] it was like 2 weeks. Done,” added Raymond. 

Another pandemic-induced obstacle presented itself when Randy’s brother, and partial owner of the trophy shop, wanted his share to be bought out. With little value at the time, there was not enough money in the business to accommodate the request and Randy and Megan once again approached Valley Strong for advice. Collaborating with their Member Business Representatives, they were able to get a loan to buy out his brother and avoid putting the business’ future at risk.

Megan Raymond also credits Valley Strong with establishing new payroll benefits that many employees have become accustomed to and expect from today’s employers, “We are small and we have young employees. We started offering direct deposit for our employees and [Valley Strong] was very instrumental in helping us do that.”

Valley Strong is open for business banking and is uniquely positioned to help more small and medium sized businesses like Raymond’s. Along with our wide range of business banking products and digital capabilities, we offer high touch customer service that is tough to achieve with bigger banks. With Branches across the San Joaquin Valley, our business banking representatives are in tune with the needs of the community and offer a personal touch to local and regional businesses. Megan Raymond says that is what’s important for them, “You pick up the phone and you know who you are getting. They have the local businesses best interest at heart.”

To request information or a consultation with a local business representative, visit or call (800) 221-3311.