— It doesn’t matter if it is an antique Coca-Cola machine or an equally old hearse, Danny Miller says he has the technology to blast off the rust, paint, dust or anything else that needs removal.
The vintage inventory Miller has stored in his cavernous, century-old building is the first set of projects he has for the once-defunct business he reopened in early January, Performance Powder Coating.
The business is set up to powderblast or sandblast everything from lawn furniture to semi rigs.
The modern machinery used to clear and re-coat worn and weathered objects sits in one of Kokomo’s landmarks, the former Haynes Automobile Factory on South Union Street. The building also became Chrysler’s first Kokomo facility in 1937, when the company that is now the city’s largest employer bought it.
Miller bought the building several years ago for $80,000 from a real estate agent who took a wild shot with trying to sell the structure.
“He said ‘Danny, I’ve got a property, but I don’t think you’re going to like it,’” Miller said. “I knew what it was, and I love
Miller plans to apply for grants to help him restore the building to meet guidelines for the National Register of Historic Places.
In the meantime, he has to get a business going.
Miller re-opened Performance Powder Coating with a $20,000 loan from the city of Kokomo’s Revolving Loan Fund, on top of a private loan.
“I decided — you know what? — this could benefit me and a whole lot of other people if I just bought this,” he said.
The front reception area of the business is surrounded by a drafty former-factory floor where Miller and his three employees work.
Miller, a car enthusiast, also stashes vehicles from his own collection that he works on in is free time, including a half dozen antique hearses.
Vehicles are a fraction
of the items Performance Powder Coating is set up to work on.
“It’s always neat to take something like an antique Coke machine and blast all that sand and dust off there and see what it used to look like,” Miller said.
Along with re-coating heavy machinery, the business has equipment that swaps coarser powder for a finer type in a method known as media blasting. The more sensitive spray uses crushed buttons to restore more delicate objects or avoid damaging metal.
“If you’re restoring a Mustang Fastback, people aren’t going to want a coarse sand to blast it,” Miller said. “It’s too nice. The media blasting takes off the paint but leaves the metal alone.”
Customers can call to schedule drop-off times.
The majority of work the business handles starts between $500 and $700, Miller said.
• Daniel Human is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. He can be reached
at 765-454-8570 or at daniel.human@kokomo