When Dennis Smith was coaching high school basketball in the 1980s, he never dreamed his dissatisfaction with local trophy products for his teams would set him on a journey to government contracting. After building a golf course in the 1990s and selling personalized trophies and awards there, Smith decided to open a small shop in the town of Hayward. In fall 1996 he went to look at Apple Awards, a mail order awards business whose owners had recently moved from Green Bay to Hayward. When the owners realized they needed to sell the business and retire, Smith was in the right place at the right time. Apple Awards historically has sold to teachers’ associations and educational organizations. Its brass, marble and crystal apple products are sourced from India, Taiwan and China with personalizing and base production taking place at its Hayward shop. Smith keeps a ready stock for quick service and ships products to all 50 states, Canada and occasionally China.