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Contractors leverage painting success into new challenges

8 February, 2023

From pizza to pubs to lighthouses, contractors are taking the drive that got them into the paint business and going into other businesses as well, often with an eye to making improvements in their communities. We look at three contractors who have made the move — and how painting will help them succeed in their new adventures.

Contractor opens pub and restaurant

An article by Sophie Bolich in Urban Milwaukee spotlights Donnie Dries, owner of Dries Painting and Restoration that serves the Milwaukee area. In March, Dries plans to open a pub and restaurant in an area that serves much of his client base — the article states that the new Dries Ristorante will be serving “appetizers, pasta, sandwiches, salads, desserts and wood-fired pizzas.” Next door to this establishment will be Donnie’s Pub, which will have standard pub fare and a mix of popular brews. People who like his painting prowess are expected to become regulars at his dining establishments as well.

His painting experience will come in handy as the building is getting a big-time do-over. Dries said he and his team are planning significant changes, telling the reporter “You’ll be able to tell that it’s a painting contractor that runs the place.” The coolest decor? Right now he’s thinking that will be the women’s rest room.

Dries is no stranger to extra services; he’s spent a lot of this winter offering snow removal as well. Neighborhood residents have commented that they’re excited to see this improvement in their area.

Contractor buys abandoned lighthouse 
On the east coast, an article by Tim Prudente in The Baltimore Banner talks about a coastal Maryland lighthouse in significant disrepair (and just a stone’s throw from a Navy Danger Zone) that found itself in the center of an anonymous bidding war. Starting out at $15,000, it finally sold for an amazing $192,000. Even the sellers thought it was nuts. The winner? Industrial painter Richard Cucé of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Putting a lighthouse up for auction is nothing new. As they aren’t needed for their original purpose, selling them to those who want to keep them up is a way to preserve them and the history they represent. However, they’re hard to access and maintain, as they’re often out on the water in remote areas.

Cucé, noted the article, enjoys rust-proofing old structures, and had in fact tried to purchase a lighthouse before, but when the price rounded $850K he had to graciously bow out. And while many openly mocked him for purchasing this lighthouse, his entrepreneurial spirit has plans for this rust covered structure. Right now, Cucé is focused on the nuts and bolts restoration. From there he hopes that it can play a part in revitalizing the area, maybe bring back some life to the “dead zone” of ocean where the lighthouse sits. He’s even made a pitch to have his renovations featured on a documentary. If he can fix this, what can’t he fix?

Pizza for the kids

Miyagi Dough

Finally, we turn to Shaun Temple of Legendary Painting in Gresham, Oregon, who founded Miyagi-Dough Pizza in November of last year. If you're not familiar, the name was inspired by the hit series on Netflix Cobra Kai, which is indisputably the most brilliant reboot of the century. Temple, featured in the November/December issue of APC, spent several weeks on the east coast while his mother was going through some surgery and recovery, during which time he also spent a lot of time at Franco’s, a family-owned pizza business in North Utica, New York. It encouraged Shaun to try his hand at a new enterprise. “I fell in love with it, and while I was working, doing dough, and idea came to me,” he said. “I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I want to do something absolutely amazing for youth under the age of 21, so they can have a safe space that is open late and serves good food reasonably priced and offers great value to the next generation.”

Shaun trademarked and procured domain names for Miyagi Dough Pizza, with plans and dreams to franchise it nationally and overseas — as far as this world will have it. “I was thinking about the places that we used to have back in the day, places like pinball parlors, etc,” he said. “I’m thinking of creating a safe space very similar to a pub scene but for people under 21. My plan is to have screens on the walls and have them able to adjust the backgrounds from the table so they can do their TikTok or whatever, then I’m going to hire an older generation for my staff and pay them well. That way they can pass on their great information to the next generation.”

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