By Chris Collier

The paint protection film (PPF) industry is more than two years removed from COVID-19’s unwelcome arrival. PPF Mag’s 2021 Top Dealers list demonstrated resilience, showcasing companies that weathered the storm on their way to a successful 2020. 2022’s list is the most expansive yet, fitting for a segment with increased automotive aftermarket dominance. To be considered next year, email Chris Collier at ccollier@glass.com.

“The people who know about it want it, and the people who don’t do too, once you explain the benefits,” says Stephen Trapp, owner of Blue Star Auto Salon in Everett, Wash. “It’s usually a pretty easy sell. It’s been great for us. Having the ability to incorporate it into our existing business model has paid off in
spades. We’ve grown rapidly over the last year. Since we started [offering it], we almost doubled our sales within the first year. This is our second year, and we’re looking to double that again.” Trapp took STEK USA’s “Intro to PPF” class in 2021. Before offering PPF, his business focused primarily on ceramic coatings and detailing projects.

The story is different for Chris DiMinico, whose business began offering PPF 21 years ago.

“We do little automotive tint; we have always been known as a PPF company,” says DiMinico, owner of Protective Solutions and AutoNuvo in Holliston, Mass., a city approximately 25 miles from Boston. “That’s what we cut our teeth on and what we’ve done extremely well with over the years. The retail side with
higher-end detailing, ceramic coating, vinyl and window tint have come along for us.”

Like Protective Solutions and AutoNuvo, Murrieta, Calif.’s, Clear Pro has honed in on PPF since its 2004 founding.

“We had a lot of [hills] to climb to get where we are now,” says Lance Pugh, owner of Clear Pro.

Clear Pro moved into a 5,200 square-feet facility a year ago, emphasizing optimized lighting and clean installation bays. “I think there’s more room to grow,” Pugh adds. “Whether or not the current financial climate looming will let us get there within the next few years is hard to say. We’ve weathered the recession in 2008 … I think there’s a lot of growth still to be made in the PPF world.”

Rick Puthoff opened Eclipse Window Tinting in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the late 1990s, but he didn’t dabble in PPF until 2008 when “no one knew what it was yet.”

“I’d scratch a car trimming it, and we’d stop,” Puthoff says. “Plotters and patterns weren’t what they are. You’d cut a pattern, and it would be wrong. You’d try a different cutting software you had access to, and that was wrong. It was fighting patterns, installation issues and films weren’t as friendly as they are now.”

Puthoff tried PPF several times, citing that “there was no money to be made in it.” From 2011 onwards, though, PPF projects were constant.

“I remember in 2014 or 2015 doing a [new car exhibition] that travels around the whole nation and comes to our city,” Puthoff says. “I had a booth there with a Ferrari and a Lambo’. Out of every 10 people that would come by the booth, one would say, ‘I think my neighbor had something like that.’ We were educating them. We’re selling invisibility; we’re selling an invisible product.”

Chris Collier is the assistant editor for PPFMag.
ccollier@glass.com

PPFMag partnered with the research division of its parent company, Key Media & Research (KMR), to compile this list. For more information on KMR’s research capabilities, contact Nick St. Denis at nick@keymediaresearch.com

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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