From left, staff member Dwayne Ward, owners Kevin and Carolyn Coyle. VOICE PHOTO

Pelham painting specialist just getting started

Kevin Coyle has been running Nine Lives Kitchens out of his Highway 20 shop in Fonthill since July, but he has even bigger plans on the horizon. That in itself is impressive when you consider that a little over a year ago, the kitchen repainting specialist was operating out of his St. Catharines garage.

“I just purchased a $15,000 spray booth,” Coyle said. “It’s a long way from when I was in my garage when I had four fans blowing it out the back door.”

It’s in that spray booth where painters refinish old cabinets and furniture for a growing list of clients around Niagara. That’s the company’s more cost-efficient specialty, as opposed to rebuilding and renovating kitchens.

“What we do is we repaint kitchens. What makes us unique, is we spray finish the boxes,” Coyle said. “I do have a local guy who does modifications, but we’re not doing new kitchens, building new boxes and that. But sometimes people get a new fridge, they’ve got to change things up, get an island built, we can do that.”

Business has been brisk.

“We’re insanely busy doing kitchens,” he said, adding that Nine Lives will also repaint furniture such as dining room sets and dressers.

Yet it was while he was spray-painting a door last year when Coyle came up with another idea.

“I was at the shop, and I was spraying at like midnight, and I thought, ‘This is b.s..’ And I thought, what if we brought the unit to people’s homes, and the whole vision kind of unwinded in my brain.”

He spoke with business partner Donna Micallef, who had built successful companies in Toronto before moving south.

“I didn’t think it was going to be scalable enough to have an investor involved in it, but when I had an epiphany about the mobile spray trailer, I presented it to her.”

The idea is this: Coyle will bring a fully outfitted mobile spray trailer to the driveways of homes interested in repainting their exterior doors.

“It will be a completely sustainable spray trailer with sanding and everything,” he said. “So we’ll pull up in front of somebody’s house in the driveway, and we take the front door off, put another door on. We’re going to take the door into the trailer and within two hours you’re gonna have a fully repainted door.”

The demand exists, Coyle says.

“Nobody’s doing that,” he said. “Doors are a pain in the rear, when you think about it. You’ve got this gaping hole in front of your house. Normally contractors have to take the door and bring it somewhere to have it done. They’re big, they’re bulky, and cumbersome to move around. This way, it’s done right in the trailer and we can expedite the drying process and we can have it up in under two hours … it’s basically a shop on wheels.”

One of the trailers is currently sitting in front of Nine Lives’ shop on Highway 20, in Fonthill. The plan is to have that operation up and running by the spring, with the long-term goal of franchising the operation all around the Golden Horseshoe within two years.

In the meantime, a lot of kitchen cabinetry will get painted. Coyle has three painters, an installer and a carpenter on staff, along with partner Micallef and his wife Carolyn—who was an impetus for the entire business model when she worked on the visual team at Stoney Creek furniture, giving her a keen eye for current styles and trends.

Nine Lives uses low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, which results in a coating that does not give off a severe odour as it dries, but provides a professional finish to surfaces.

“It’s completely unique,” Coyle said.

Nine Lives Kitchens is located at 151 Highway 20 E. Call 905-468-9668 or visit nineliveskitchens.com for more information.