MAXimizing Coating Opportunities
Chuck Gault had no plans to expand his Birmingham, Ala., company, Max Coating, to a second location more than 140 miles away in the heart of Atlanta until his employees stepped up and urged him to make the expansion a reality.
Every normal business sense told Chuck Gault to turn around and walk away from an offer he had in 2011 to expand his Birmingham, Ala., company, Max Coating, to a second location more than 140 miles away in the heart of Atlanta.
He remembered vividly just a few short years earlier when he had to let go nearly all his staff after the recession hit, leaving him wondering day-by-day— make that hour-by-hour—what bills he could pay, what creditors could be put off or even what new business might walk through the door.
“I looked back to when our business was cut in half, and it basically felt like it happened overnight,” Gault says. “It hit us hard. I would just sit there and think about making it through that day and nothing else.”
Max Coatings offers electrocoating, powder coating, blasting and even light assembly. The Birmingham plant was 55,000 sq ft, and Gault was asked to bid on taking over a shuttered e-coat and powder coat line in a 75,000-sq-ft plant in Atlanta—one that he indirectly had some ties to. After starting Max Coating in 2003, Gault purchased an e-coat line from an Atlanta coater that had gone out of business. This plant on Selig Drive that he was asked to bid on was also once owned by that same coater. Several other companies had tried and failed to make a go of it at this location, and the plant had been sitting idle for some time.
No Interest in Expansion
“I had no interest whatsoever in expanding when the broker called me in 2011 and asked me to come look at the e-coat line,” Gault recalls. “We had been putting all our emphasis and revenues into getting new customers and business, and it just didn’t make sense to me to expand.”
Still, Gault made a courtesy visit to the Atlanta plant to see the line, if only to satisfy the persistent broker and to quench his own curiosity about what it had to offer. The line was idle, having been through three different owners in five years, all of whom had tweaked the mechanisms, added their own tastes as to how a line should run and then left it standing like a horse put out to pasture.