California Dreamin’

April 30th, 2014 by Editor

As you know, I recently spent a week on the West Coast. And if you didn’t already know, I loved it. The best part about it (other than the weather, the views, learning to tint, meeting with suppliers, etc.) was getting to meet several of you while I was out there and see what some of you do during the day.

Just look at those fresh faces at The Tint Factory.

Just look at those fresh faces at The Tint Factory.

I was fortunate enough to meet with four dealers in under 12 hours, which made for one pretty eventful day.

First, I met with my friend and past Film Star™ Cesar Velasquez at his shop, The Tint Factory, in Loma Linda, Calif.

In addition to seeing his shop and getting to meet his team, I was able to watch them plot, print and tint a customer’s vehicle. Cesar’s team was much faster and more efficient than I was the day before while learning.

Garrett Hollis works on a vehicle wrap at Extreme Autowerks.

Garrett Hollis works on a vehicle wrap at Extreme Autowerks.

Next up was Bing Lee and his team at Extreme Autowerks in Cerritos, Calif. Bing allowed me to take a peek behind the scenes where I was able to watch a group of apprentices work on a vinyl wrap installation, plus several of the installers work on tinting high-end dealership vehicles.

The teamwork was something to be admired; at one point the vehicle wrap became a little tricky and the majority of the team patiently pitched in to help the apprentices perfect the installation. I was pleased to see that.

My third stop of the day was at an El Pollo Loco. Sadly, not for lunch, but the high note was watching Gil Guerra of Team GK Glass Tinting in Bellflower, Calif., install anti-graffiti films on the building. Gil has a local contract to do this work on several updated buildings.

Look at Gil go.

Look at Gil go.

In addition to watching him install, Gil also told me about several projects he’s worked on recently, including the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, Calif.

Finally, I met up with Mel Villalon of Paradise Tinting. After telling me about several of the projects he works on and talking about the directions we see the industry heading, Mel took me to see one of his ongoing projects. On the way there, we bumped into Will Smith. Like, THE Will Smith. Like, movie star Will Smith. The Fresh Prince. Of Bel-Air.

Very important photo of me with my dear friend and close confidant Sir (Fresh) Prince William Smith of Bel Air.

Very important photo of me with my dear friend and close confidant Sir (Fresh) Prince William Smith of Bel Air.

After I calmed down from freaking out over WILL SMITH (did I mention that I met him?) Mel showed me a lot of innovative projects he’s working on for one of his clients. Sorry, I can’t talk about it yet; I was sworn to secrecy. But I will say that I think the type of specialty work that Mel is doing will be a very important niche avenue for the industry to consider in the future.

So other than seeing four very kind dealers who went out of their way to show me various sides of the industry (and Will Smith) I was able to truly understand that there is no “typical day” or routine for many dealers. What each of you do from day-to-day is as varied as the many types of film you can install.

I’m interested in getting out there and learning more about what you do. If you’d be interested in having me stop by your shop, comment below or email me at cneeley@glass.com.

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  1. Hi Casey, How about a trip to Africa. I will wine and dine you and show you our beautiful country. You will also see a window film company of note,trust me. Forty year in business is a long time,so we can enlighten you, as we eat sleep and dream our brand and business, Regards Leon

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