5 Star Awards’ Capabilities

In-house capabilities include laser engraving, traditional rotary engraving, sand blasting (glass etching), color sublimation, and the list keeps growing. 5Star has 2 state-of-the-art Trotec lasers, and a brand new Rayzist sand-carving system, which are the “jewels” in the arsenal. In addition to corporate awards, 5Star does commercial engraving for the furniture, gift and jewelry, industrial and electronic markets, and just recently applied for a Federal Firearms License to expand their offerings to engraving on firearms. 2015 will hopefully bring additional capabilities with direct-to-substrate printing, if Lisa has her way!

While 5Star has always been primarily focused on the products engraved and designed in house by an exceptional team of graphic designers, service to customers brought the additional availability of promotional products and apparel, fondly referred to as “swag”. The focus on in house engraving and production will not change, but the big news in August 2014 is that 5Star has become an independent affiliate of iPROMOTEu for the ad specialty side of the business, and is expanding the focus in order to provide corporate customers with the “one-stop-shop” experience. Consider this a separate division of the company, and 5Star is bringing in a new member of the team, with 12 years of ad specialty experience, to lead the growth. As an affiliate of iPROMOTEu, a national brand in the multi-billion dollar ad specialty market, 5Star now has access to very competitive pricing from major suppliers and manufacturers, and plans to channel those perks to benefit its customers.

Recognition and Awards

Being actively involved with ARA has been the biggest benefit to 5Star because owners Lisa and Jeff are committed to education and learning everything the industry has to offer. They attend all the industry conferences and stay on top of all the new products and tools available in order to bring them back for their customers. In 2014 Lisa received the CRS (Certified Recognition Specialist) designation from ARA, in recognition of more than 70 hours of education, a milestone in her career that brands her as an expert in her field.

5Star Awards ARA Small Business Retailer of the YearIn 2012, 5Star Awards was honored to have been named the Awards and Recognition Association’s ARA Small Business Retailer of the Year. Lisa has served on various committees within ARA, including trade show, communications, education and ARIEF Silent Auction, a committee she chaired in 2011.

In 2014 5Star Awards also won a Pinnacle Award from the Greater Raleigh Chamber for successful small entrepreneurial business, 1-5 employees. But the recognition from ARA, which is The trade association for the awards industry, remains her most prized accomplishment and highest honor. Additionally, 5Star applied for and was granted WBENC and WOSB certification, woman-owned business certifications.



5Star was founded in 1999 by Lisa Higginbotham while still working in the printing industry. At the time the business name was TrophyUSA and was first opened in retail space on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. Like many businesses, the company went through growing pains, trying to create its niche, even learning the industry. Those transitions led to moving out of retail space, rebranding the business as a focus on corporate awards and recognition brought about a new identity, and 5Star Awards was born. Several years of building the “new” identity meant growing as a home-based business for a while, doing a lot of networking, and building a solid base. When the economy was challenging, 5Star navigated the rough seas because of a solid commitment to quality and, most importantly, customer service.

In 2011 5Star moved to commercial space. Jeff will tell you that Lisa kept buying equipment and there was no room! But reality is that after now 12 years in the industry, and building that niche in the corporate awards market, 5Star needed more space, AND more equipment.


Lisa Higginbotham and husband Jeff own 5Star Awards, Inc., in Cary, North Carolina. A Duke graduate and avid Duke basketball fan, Lisa came to NC for college and never left. Their daughter Lily is 14 years old and currently driving them crazy. After 20 years in the commercial printing industry, Lisa channeled her graphics and advertising background into her awards business, which she founded in 1999.

Lisa and Jeff met as members of the singles group at Hope community Church, and remain active in the church, Jeff directing traffic as part of the Roadie team (wearing bright orange sublimated tshirts made by 5Star with tire tracks on the back), and Lisa serves on the Security team.

Lisa is a charter member of the Apex Sunrise Rotary Club, a Paul Harris Fellow, member of the Paul Harris Society, and President-elect. Jeff is also a member of the Rotary club, and they both agree that service to the community and world is essential for any responsible business. Lisa participated in BNI for a number of years and is a member of several local chambers. She will be the first to say she has a bad case of “can’t say “no” disease.”

Contact InformationLisa Higginbotham is a Certified Recognition Specialist

Lisa Higginbotham, CRS, Founder and President

5Star Awards, Inc.

Phone Number: 919-954-1130

Email: sales@5starawards.net

Website: www.5StarAwards.net