Painter Arthur Andrade sprays Valspar Refinish Low VOC at Monte’s Auto Body in Lompoc, CA. The product is ideal for their location along the California Central Coast.
It’s a story we hear often: shops that are located in close proximity to bodies of water, whether it’s a river, a lake, or the ocean itself, are using a waterborne system, but they just can’t seem to get it to cooperate, especially during hot and humid summer days. In areas like California where Low VOC is mandated, this can be a serious issue, especially during particular times of the year.
|Monte’s Auto Body |
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 18
In Business Since: 1979
Number of Locations: Two
DRP Programs: Five
Combined Production Space: 20,000 square feet
Forced to wrestle continually with a waterborne system while fixing 120 cars a month, two shops along California’s Central Coast were looking for a Low VOC system that would help them to get out of their predicament. The solution turned out to be Valspar Refinish™ Low VOC base-coat system, and since then, the shops are enjoying these new products and the amazing results they’re achieving with them.
Since 1979, Monte’s Auto Body has been performing auto body repair services out of two locations in Lompoc and Buellton, CA, while serving the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Santa Ynez Valley, and Santa Barbara County. The shops pride themselves on using top products and repair techniques to maintain several factory certifications, including Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and Hyundai, and Valspar Refinish Low VOC system is playing a big role in it.
Chris Pickles and Erasmo Angulo (also known as “Razz”) are the co-owners of Monte’s Auto Body, and this year, they will be celebrating the shop’s tenth anniversary. In 2006, they purchased a 27-year-old shop, and three years later, they opened a second location.
Pickles, 46, became interested in painting cars at age 14 when he started helping his older brother David paint old, classic vehicles. Shortly after that, he landed a job at a local body shop in Lompoc, where he worked for 18 years before he and Angulo decided to go out on their own.
“Erasmo and I worked together for about 15 years at the same shop as we both moved up the ranks,” Pickles said. “He is six years younger than me and his first job was being my helper. For many years, we worked side-by-side as body techs. At one point, we just looked at each other and said ‘Hey, let’s do this ourselves.’ I can definitely say that it’s a partnership that has been very successful.”
To find out if other body shops along the coast of the Golden State were experiencing the same problems that they were with the waterborne products, Pickles and Angulo decided to go on a road trip.
“We visited body shops from Lompoc all the way to Orange County, including San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, and Santa Maria,” Angulo said. “And we found out that they were having similar issues with the waterborne. The waterborne paint is a good product, but because of where we’re located, it just wasn’t an ideal match for us.”
After performing their due diligence, Pickles and Angulo decided to go with the Valspar Refinish Low VOC product and started dropping it into their two shops. Buellton was up and running with it last December and the Lompoc location followed one month later.
It was a case of love at first sight, according to Pickles. “The training was excellent and our painters got good at applying the product almost immediately. The process is the same as with the waterborne, so it wasn’t difficult. There were four people here from Valspar and one of their reps was here all week long, painting cars right alongside my people. Now they check in with us every 1-2 months to answer our questions, but to be honest, we haven’t had any issues with Valspar.”
By using Valspar’s proprietary Universal Intermix System, both shops are getting accurate color matches with every car. Using one set of universal tints, powder pearls, and technology-specific binders, they’re able to mix basecoat, poly-urethane single-stage, acrylic-urethane enamel, alkyd enamels, vinyl, and specialty-sign coatings at VOC levels that meet all California air-quality regulations.
JD Allard is Monte’s Keystone/ LKQ account manager, servicing both locations with parts, paint, and ancillary products. “Having two very reputable shops onboard with Valspar is a big thing for us,” Allard said. “Chris and Razz did their research and really put in the time and effort to learn as much as they could about the product, so it means a lot that they’re using it.”
Now that Monte’s has been using Valspar Refinish Low VOC basecoat for at least six months, many of the benefits associated with it have become apparent. “The product is less expensive and we’re using 20% less paint, so we’re very pleased about making the move to Valspar Refinish Low VOC,” Pickles said. “The problems that we were encountering with the waterborne paint are no longer a concern. We’re still green, and now we can do a better job while saving money. This product works for us instead of the other way around.”