ePaint Recycling Flourishes When Given The Chance
Jim Cosby had been looking for work in 2010. The economy wasn’t cooperating, and his wood finishing business had faltered during the height of the Great Recession. “Nothing was available,” says Jim. “I had $200 in my pocket and a can opener when I opened ePaint, plus a lot of ideas and ambition. There was no business model or historical data to follow. I just had this idea on how to recycle latex paint, that I could turn someone’s waste into something good.”
In 2015, Jim purchased and refurbished, with cash, the former Habitat for Humanity Building at 551 West Michigan Ave., Battle Creek. His partnership with the organization didn’t stop there. Habitat is now ePaint’s primary client for paint distribution. Partnering with 175 restores, including those in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, more than 260,000 recycled gallons of ‘Everybody’s Paint’ have been sold. The paint, which comes in 20 colors, also comprises 10 percent of all Habitat Restore sales. “The market is great,” adds Jim. “And of course, painting is the number one DIY project in the country.”
Why the name ePaint? It represents environmental, economical, ecological, excellence, earth, and energy.
“I’m a resourceful and focused person, sometimes to a fault,” offers Jim. But it was his resourcefulness that led to Jim inventing the special equipment his company uses to open the cans of paint, for a much more efficient recycling process. ePaint has recycled more than three million cans of paint and today employs 20. It accepts paint from individual consumers for a nominal charge while the majority comes from county government contracts.
Jim Turns to ECCU
A member for close to 20 years, Jim’s had a car loan and personal checking account with ECCU. It wasn’t until his financial advisor, Dennis Greenfield, suggested he partner with ECCU for his business as well. “After a failed business and losing so much, I had little faith in banks. The banks and job market judged me on my credit alone, despite my college degree and having served six years as a Captain in the U.S. Army National Guard.”
“I didn’t think ECCU would be interested in me,” continues Jim. “But I was wrong. ECCU listened when no one else would, and I was able to establish a business line-of-credit. It helps to keep my cash flow and payroll strong. And without the line, business would be much slower than it would need to be.” Jim also has a business savings and checking account and is an avid user of online banking.
“While credit scores and ratios of financial statements can be important indicators, they don’t always tell the whole story,” explains Ryan Reffitt, Director of Commercial Loan Services for ECCU. “Jim had a great story, and the facts to back it up. “That’s what we’re about at ECCU – the stories behind the scores, not just the scores themselves.”
Next for ePaint are plans to open an inbound paint recycling center at the former Habitat Restore on Lake Street, Kalamazoo. Incoming paint cans will be collected in Kalamazoo, and outbound work (mixing, packaging and shipping) completed in Battle Creek. “Without ECCU’s confidence in me, I wouldn’t be growing or moving as fast as I am,” concludes Jim. “I can also lead from a position of confidence, and as my company grows, I have access to credit and other important services.”
Learn more about ePaint Recycling at www.epaintrecycling.com.