Paint distributor turns attention to collision repair in Quad Cities
Davenport, Iowa—Jim Hetzler has been doing custom painting, graphics, and pinstriping for the past 40 years. From his home base, JC Hetz Studio, in Muscatine, he’s taught custom-painting classes across the country at shops, schools, and the SEMA Show booth of House of Kolor, the brand for which he helped develop the Shimrin 2 paint line. And on March 26, he and his wife, Chris, opened their first brick-and-mortar store, Kickin Kolor, at 1730 Rockingham Road to serve local custom painters, hobbyists and collision repairers.
The duo have operated their www.kickinkolor.com website for a year, selling artists’ supplies such as 1-Shot lettering enamel and Mack brushes. But when it comes to paint, customers have preferred to talk with Jim Hetzler on the phone, Chris Hetzler said.
“Jim has developed one-off colors for people all over the U.S.,” she said. “They like to talk to the person who created the color.”
Even in the store’s first week, Jim Hetzler noted, he was assisting a walk-in customer in developing special formulas for a basecoat and Kandy. Chris Hetzler owns the store, and Jim is technical and sales representative, with a new concentration on collision repair shops in the Quad Cities area.
After Sherwin-Williams purchased Valspar, House of Kolor’s parent company, last June, there was a natural tie-in for the Hetzlers to sell some of its other brands. Glenn Hamm, district sales manager for Sherwin-Williams, made the duo an “offer they couldn’t refuse,” Chris Hetzler said, by adding a mixing bank of Martin Senour’s premium solvent automotive refinish line, Tec/BASE, and its industrial/ commercial line, Prism, along with related NAPA supplies (including a wall of nothing but body clips and other fasteners), and tailoring the inventory to what he predicted would be fast-movers in the Quad Cities market.
“Jim has been in the business a lot of years, so he’s earned a great reputation, so they’re pretty excited about having him rep their paint line.”
At the same time, Chris Hetzler said, the agreement allows the store to maintain its independence in selling products it has long offered, such as SATA paint guns. Although its backroom storage is almost double in size, its 40-foot-by-40-foot showroom has most products in stock on display, accented by some of Hetzler’s past custom-paint projects.
“Most of the time when paint and body guys go to their supplier, they walk up to a counter, and that’s as far as they get,” Jim Hetzler said. “They don’t have the chance to walk through all of the new products and see what’s available.”
He hopes shop owners will appreciate buying from a local business and that he will gain their trust through his expertise in recommending products to make them more productive and profitable, and he looks for sales in collision repair sales to eclipse those of the niche-oriented custom paint market.
The store is in the middle of a complex of three connected buildings, and River City Rods & Fabrication is moving into a larger facility next door. Although operating independently, Jim Hetzler already has cars scheduled for custom-paint work in his new paint booth in the connected JC Hetz Studio, some of them built and/or painted by River City. He can also conduct some of his custom painting classes there.
The House of Kolor founder and spokesman, Jon Kosmoski, has already checked out the store, Chris Hetzler said.
“He’s a really good friend of Jim’s, and he stopped by the store to give his blessing,” she said. “He really thinks we have a good thing going. I think with Jim’s expertise and my marketing and finance knowledge, we can make things happen.”