Tuesday, 05 June 2018 16:33

Kickin' Kolor in Davenport, IA, Is All About Custom Colors, Valuable Training

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Chris and Jim Hetzler own and operate Kickin' Kolor in Davenport, IA, where they have built a strong following with artists, body shops, painters, hot rodders, care rebuilders and hobbyists who require products and training. Chris and Jim Hetzler own and operate Kickin' Kolor in Davenport, IA, where they have built a strong following with artists, body shops, painters, hot rodders, care rebuilders and hobbyists who require products and training.


Kickin' Kolor in Davenport, IA, is the brainchild of Jim and Chris Hetzler, a store that was designed to help artists, body shops, painters, hot rodders, car rebuilders and hobbyists attain paint supplies and gain access to expert technical support and training. 

With more than 45 years of knowledge and experience, the Hetzlers have become well-known for being a one-stop solution where customers can create amazing finishes and graphics on vehicles all over the country and learn skills such as pinstriping and airbrushing in a hands-on classroom environment. 

Jim is always looking for unique paint colors, so when House of Kolor released its Shimrin2 paint line, he took to it almost immediately, he said. 

"I began being associated with House of Kolor about a decade ago when I won my first of four Prestigious Painter Awards from them back in 2007 for a 1939 Buick that was selected for their annual car calendar," he said. "It's a neat deal, especially because you're being honored along with some of the leading painters in the industry."

That first award led to bigger and better things for the Hetzlers. 

"So, we started up a sample service at that time, spraying out samples for our customers," Jim said. "Once they decided on a sample color, we could mix their paint by using the unique color formula right here at our store and ship it directly to them. House of Kolor set us up with a program that worked out really well for us and our customer liked it immediately. As we were rolling along, we thought, ‘Why sell [not] only House of Kolor paint but other products too, such as sandpaper and fillers and all of the other items that go along with the paint?’ So, we began to diversify our inventory and became a one-stop solution." 

The store's inventory began to grow after that and things started rolling along at an accelerated rate shortly thereafter.

"We got together with reps from Sherwin-Williams in our area that owns House of Kolor and decided to partner up with Martin Senour, a Sherwin-Williams product,” he said. “Martin Senour was being sold through NAPA stores and put together a full line of paint, body and equipment (PBE) items for the collision repair industry, home do-it-yourselfers and custom painters. We liked the idea of selling their products." 

Jim is a veteran of the custom paint world. People know his name throughout the nation for his airbrushing and pinstriping skills. 

"In the early ‘70s, I began pinstriping and learned how to do lettering by doing it,” he said. “Back in those days, the real experts were not really willing to share their secrets about pinstriping and hand lettering. So, as I developed my craft, we included custom paint into the mix as well because the rage back then was painting vans, so all of that was thrown together and it worked.


"Now we're a destination shop offering all of it because it's all inter-connected. We named the company Kickin' Kolor after the Shimrin2 paint line was released because it enabled people to use the paint samples to create any custom color they wanted to formulate. They wanted something completely one-off and totally unique, so we were cocktailing a lot of House of Kolor paint with vibrant colors and pearls that speak for themselves. I let Sherwin-Williams shepherd us in the direction of the Martin Senour products, and that's where it really took off. It's been an exciting journey because we get neat projects to help people with all the time. In fact, we recently used House of Kolor samples to do production for Walmart to use on Apple iPhones and we've been involved in providing unique colors for some vehicles used in movies." 

Jim's wife, Chris, runs the store and is extremely knowledgeable about the House of Kolor paint line, which gives Jim a lot of free time to sell products and train people about custom graphics, custom paint and pinstriping.  

"When body shops get into some tape-outs and multi-colors and want something different or fancy, that's a big part of what we're doing," Chris said. "When they come here, they can touch and feel the products and learn proper techniques, which is very important and I believe we provide a special customer experience for them that they really value." 

The store is more of an art gallery and museum than just simply a store, Chris explained. 

"We have a lot of Jim's artwork here on the walls and much of it is geared toward his airbrushing and pinstriping, so we're not just a paint store. We're located in an old building made of brick with open beam ceilings and we believe it has a very comfortable feel for the customers. People wander around and we have the mixing bank here, so some customers will often hang out and it's like more [of a] mom-and-pop environment. Jim is well-known and they always want to discuss their projects with him as well. We hold two pinstriping classes here every year with 15--20 students and conduct one airbrushing class limited to eight students, both in a classroom we have here. We're also going to be offering a hands-on House of Kolor workshop that Jim will be conducting in his own paint booth very soon and people are already getting excited about that." 

"I've been teaching pinstriping for 18 years and limit the class sizes to give everyone one-on-one instruction," Jim said. "Eighty percent of these folks have never picked up a pinstriping brush before, so we get a lot of new fresh talent coming here for the classes. Many of them have the potential to do it professionally, so it's exciting. All of the supplies are provided in the classes and they get to take everything home with them, so they get to practice on their own to get better. One or two students from each of my classes eventually end up becoming professional pinstripers, which is of course very satisfying."

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