My name is LeRoy J.Snyder and my wife’s name was Cynthia Ann Richer. I am the oldest of Charles and Mellicent Snyder’s five children. Glenn Alan, Dolores Elaine, Brenda Lynn and Brent Dean.
Cindy is the next to the youngest of five with Kenny, Jerry, Sylvia, Candy and herself. We both were normal kids doing normal things growing up in separate sections of the city of Sacramento, California. We met each other at my friend’s Grandma’s funeral. I know what your thinking….(Yuk) what can I say? It’s a great place to meet chics, Ha ha. Just kidding…
After spending years in the cleaning business and working at night, my best friend Dan Divitt found himself unemployed and getting married in a few days. This was quite alarming to his future wife to be and now a real possibility existed of either calling off the wedding or postponing it to time indefinite.
Since he was my friend, I quickly invited him to come to work with me in the cleaning business. I gave him half of my work and figured out I would just have to hustle to make up the difference.
After two months, Dan was given an opportunity to work and learn to do Vinyl Repair with Jim Henry of Cool-Chem Enterprises. This was in 1973. Dan’s skill level grew and became his trademark over the years of quality workmanship. Truth be told…he had a good teacher and so did I. But more on that later.
In 1974, My wife Cindy, my son Danual and I embarked on a special preaching assignment to Grand Island, Nebraska. My wife and I are Jehovah’s witnesses and have been so since 1970. This was our motivation and desire that caused us to leave sunny California for the cold frigid climate of the Midwest. Our desire to help people with their personal lives continues to this day and overflows to our customers in the vinyl repair business as well.
As time went on, Dan’s skill level grew to new bounds and soared during this time when the vinyl repair industry was in its infancy. The cold patch was the best and most revolutionary at the time and a carefully guarded secret. Century Twenty One vinyl repair taught Jim Henry the system of using contact cement and baking soda or wall board powder to do the seat and dash repair. They proudly boasted about a prestigious account they had at Disneyland where they used this method.
In time, still living in Nebraska, my wife and I had…more children and finishing at four. (wife’s order…Ha Ha). Danual, Meshelemiah (Miah), Shiloh and Lasha made me want to give up the night work. Dan invited me to California and said he would teach me the beloved cold patch.
After stewing on it awhile, I decided to take him up on the offer. But things had changed. When I got there Dan had now fallen in love with the …Hot patch. This ultimately proved to be a disaster for me. As I said before, the vinyl repair industry was clearly at its infancy stages and most heat systems were not good. (VIP of Chicago, now defunct)
While Dan and Jim had tried the Flex Proof products, they found them to be too expensive and ineffective. They returned back to the auto part/paint/hobby and plumbing stores to continue to buy their supplies as the industry continued to grow through product cannibalism. In time, Sem and Special T became the color coating of choices. Jim dealt directly with the factory for their needs and would order in large quantities for us.
So with pumped up enthusiasm for this new untested system I returned to the Grand Island area and ultimately failed. The phase I was taught to share with a disappointed customer was that at least it’s better than it was…sadly that wasn’t always true. But I didn’t give up. We moved to Blair Nebraska and worked the big city of Omaha.While that was much easier, I still ended up failing and it tore me up inside and frustrated me big time that I couldn’t perform at the level of what others and myself expected. So this time, I quit for good.
1983 we decided to give up the icy cold weather and warm people and returned to California. Now, the shoe was on the other foot. My friend Dan seized the opportunity to help me with work. So he invited me to work with him and become a type of apprentice as he was of Jim. The only condition he imposed on us was that we could never work any of the other car lots he or his son did. In time that condition included two or three others. Everybody to my knowledge cooperated.
The years of the industry experienced the beginnings of a new solid growth and it was quite exciting. While still clearly in its infancy and still lacking in much, the professional industry began to take on a sense of stability and maturity.
Dan’s abilities only solidified this point. Simply speaking, Dan’s work truly amazed me. I recall one time when he was doing a job and had yet to finish it. I saw it and my mouth fell open. I said “Man! That’s beautiful! That’s the best work I’ve ever seen!”
A smile came to his face followed by his usual Dan Divitt chortle replied somewhat surprised, “You like that?”
Without hesitation I said, “Dan…That’ the best job I’ve ever seen.”
Unimpressed by himself after a second look at his repair as he replies calmly, “I’m not finished.”
“You’re not finished? I can’t believe it. That job looks ten times better than any job I’ve ever done when I was finished!”
He smiled, chuckled in his usual way and said, “I know. Ha Ha. I know.”
As time went on, we went from a Mobile unit to a shop. A new person came to our shop that unbeknownst to me would end up changing my life as dramatically as Mr. Dan Divitt. His name was Dean Fitzgerald. While much of his products was similar to ones we had created and were using he blew us away when he demonstrated the mouth atomizer. We were amazed and taken by such a little nifty tool. While we didn’t embraced that tool completely at first we still hung on to the old ways of doing things spraying our dyes with our DeBeilvis or Sharp paint guns. We went to his warehouse for some of his shows and did start buying different products. But something was missing. What was it? Then it hit me. Current user experience with the products in the field. Dean had done vinyl repair in the past himself and now was enjoying the success as a supply company. In time his field experience became less current and useful to me. I began to realize that unless you use the processes regularly you lose touch for how many things work and the adjustments you need to make. When we went to one of his shows I visited a while with a number of factory reps and came away with the conclusion that even they didn’t know how their own products worked. We, the repair people were teaching them. (Today that’s not always such a bad thing. We value your knowledge and experiences and appreciate your input.) And in some cases one boneheaded individual refused to believe us and continued to be a condescending dolt.
1985 my wife was involved in a car accident. We received a little money and we wanted to return to the Midwest. (No…it didn’t get warmer.)
Before we left for Iowa I thought back to the past shows and decided to have a visited with Dean about the possibility of selling products for him. As you can guess, he was ecstatic about it. So after the move I started to buy products from Dean for resale. Dean helped me to get started by supplying me with old and current customers that were close to me in Iowa. He also took me with him to the bigger trade shows where my eyes were open to other competitors and experts in the field. In time, I saw the need to include other people’s products with Deans and eventually we even developed some of our own. Many companies to this day purchase their products from us but re-label them under their name. We are pledged by confidentiality not to tell you which ones. You’ll just have to figure that out for yourself.
Some companies use the name of our products but substitute an off brand or knock off version. Still…you might remember some of the products that we have created and brought to the industry. Bulldog, MDT, Clone-it, Knockout, Bullseye, Final-Weld and many, many more. We were the first to introduce the ‘How to do Vinyl, Velour and Leather Repair' videos to the industry. We started it and witnessed the industry explode in this regard. Since 1987 I am proud to have maintained a working service in the field part time and to be a relevant supply to my cherished customers. While we are on the small side as regard warehouses, we do offer a large selection of products. For example we offer over 350 different colored velour fiber flock. Please take a moment and see for yourself the actual colors at this web sight under color charts. We endeavor to continue to soar with quality products with specialized service for you, our valued customers. We take great pride in providing better products that make the job finish easy and quick. But the truth is that it’s an on going process. The industry has made great strides over the years and has enjoyed validity of being a respected industry. We take great pride with our contributions to such. I also am thankful and Indebted to two people and will always appreciate what they did for me. Mr. Dan Divitt and Mr. Dean Fitzgerald.
While we moved here in Louisiana in 1990 from Iowa, we bring to the table our experiences in working with the auto interior business in four states. And with three very different weather conditions. We believe this to truly be an asset regarding our knowledge and ability to be helpful to you in the field.
We hope this gives you a little back round on us and we eagerly would welcome and appreciate a share of your business and we appreciate you looking at our website.
Thank you all so much.