It's something new, something old, something bought, and something very big, as this month we profile four shops which have different backgrounds and strategies in the finishing and coating industry, and each have their own place in the industry.

By now, we are all in the blitz of a few industry trade shows that have resurfaced after a one-year hiatus. Time to see old friends, make some new friends and learn ways to better run finishing and coating operations.

A year ago last August 2020 is when I started this publication. It began as an idea of helping finishers and coaters better connect and share information and best practices. Now, 12 months later, I have to say the smallest of concepts can turn into the biggest of dreams one can imagine.

The more time you spend in the finishing and coating industry, the more friends you make. This industry is one that allows you to meet and get to know those who run the shops, make the equipment, generate the supplies, and come to all the regional and national shows each year.

There is a huge difference between fads and trends. Fads are what you did with your hair and your jeans back when you were a teenager. Trends are what you need to get ahead of if your business is going to succeed.

When my friends and family ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I write about the finishing and coating industry, and then I try in the best way possible to explain to them what it feels like walking into a manufacturing operation like a powder coater or electroplater and sensing the aura of the facility, the vibe, and the nuances that go along with being where the action is.

It seems a week doesn’t pass that we hear about another independent finishing shop getting purchased by an investment group and then merged with others around the company.

My dad used to give me sage advice when I was growing up, and it usually centered around who I should buy particular products from. To him, you couldn’t go wrong with tried and true manufacturers.

Welcome to the first year of the rest of your life. Say what you will about 2020, but getting into 2021 has never been so welcome in my life. Things got to be better, right? Just agree with me on this one.

When I throw a party, I usually don't expect a lot of people to show up. When I have a few friends over, I'm happy if one or two show up at the door.

Now more than ever before, it is imperative for finishing and coating shops to have partnerships with suppliers who are responsive and responsible. In the world we live in today, having experts at your fingertips to call on to help when assistance is needed could be the difference between jobs going out the door on time or losing jobs ($$$) altogether.

As we head into the final quarter of 2020, most finishers and coaters are looking to put this year behind them and have their eyes set on next year. Truly, with what has occurred this year, looking forward to tomorrow is sometimes the only thing most in the industry can do to shake what has been a hellish year for many.

No matter what I do in this business, there is nothing more satisfying to me than telling the story of entrepreneurship and ingenuity. And that all starts with the people who own and manage the coating and finishing shops in North America.

I can’t tell you how many finishing and coating shop managers and owners have told me over the years how they started out racking parts or running a forklift, and now they are calling the shots. Even the ones who were brought up in the family business often gleam with pride knowing that they earned their current job through hard work and pushing a broom.

I’ve never had to meet payroll. I’ve never had to put money on a credit card to keep a business afloat. I’ve never had to go without a paycheck as the owner of a company in order for my employees to be paid. In other words, I have no idea what it is like being the owner of a finishing or coating operation, or any business in the U.S. for that matter.

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Tim Pennington, Editor-in-chief

TPennington 3Tim Pennington is Editor-in-Chief of Finishing and Coating, and has covered the industry since 2010. He has traveled extensively throughout North America visiting shops and production facilities, and meeting those who work in the industry. Tim began his career in the newspaper industry, then wound itself between the sports field with the PGA Tour and marketing and communications firms, and finally back into the publishing world in the finishing and coating sector. If you want to reach Tim, just go here.

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