In a trend that makes perfect sense given the difficulty of securing new-boat financing, Mitchell Tolan, the principal of the famed Mitcher T Custom Painting and Design shop in southwestern Michigan, reports that his performance boat “repainting” business is booming.
“Getting boat loans is a killer right now,” Tolan told me this afternoon. “So I’m getting guys with like 15-year-old Fountains who are having me strip off the factory paint and do a $20,000 paint job. I’m getting a lot of work from individual owners—we have enough of a following for that—and Shogren Performance Marine is also sending me a lot of work.”
That’s a big change from fall 2009, when according to Tolan his business all but disappeared. Prior to that, he had been painting one model from Sunsation Performance Boats—Mitcher T does all of the builder’s paint work—a week. With the new-boat loan crunch, those jobs simply stopped.
“Fall was slow and we were a little scared,” said Tolan. “But we’re busy with repainting work right now, and Sunsation is taking orders for their new 36, so that work will come back, too. The signs are good. We’re plenty busy right now.”