Riding into Sunset Tint Shop

Pictured, from left, are startUP Program Facilitator Priscilla Wilkerson, startUP Board Member Justin Wilkerson, Entrepreneur of the Year Jacob Hall, startUP Board Chair George Obernagel and startUP Vice Chair Joe Koppeis.

With the close of the school year, Monroe County startUP has selected a new Entrepreneur of the Year, a Columbia High School junior offering a unique car customizing service.

Jacob Hall said he’s been interested in the startUP program since he was in middle school.

“My brother was the CEO of his class, very involved with startUP,” Hall said. “Obviously I look up to my brother a lot, so I knew about the startUP class, and I knew it was something I was interested in since, like, seventh grade.”

With that interest, Hall joined the class his junior year as he was concerned he might not have the opportunity with a hectic senior schedule.

Alongside his fellow startUP students, Hall had the opportunity to present his business at the program’s annual trade show toward the end of April.

Hall presented Sunset Tint Shop, a business offering a number of services for those looking to tint their vehicle’s windows or protect it from various forms of wear and tear.

Per the rundown Hall provided at the trade show, window tinting can provide a number of benefits including shattered glass protection, UV protection and general visual appeal.

Sunset Tint Shop also provides paint protection film, a cover for high traffic areas including door handles and wheel wells, places on a vehicle that can often receive scratches or impacts.

As he said, this film is designed in such a way to heal itself when left out in the sun, ensuring that any door scuffs to the car’s handle or scratches from kicked up rocks don’t have any lasting impact.

“It’s like you wrapped your car for Christmas, and you’re unwrapping it, and it’s that brand-new car that you just bought off the lot,” Hall said.

The third big offering from Sunset Tint Shop is what Hall called “exo-shield” glass protection for the Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler.

As he explained, rocks can be exceptionally damaging for these vehicles’ windshields, lodging into the glass and leaving cracks.

Hall said he’d spoken with several Bronco and Wrangler owners who said they had several such cracks in their windshield after just a few months of owning the vehicle.

With a full windshield replacement being exceptionally expensive, the exo-shield works, as Hall explained, like a screen protector on a phone, sustaining the damage that would go to the windshield while being vastly cheaper and easier to replace.

Hall said he landed on the idea for Sunset Tint Shop given his longtime passion for cars. Though he said he didn’t have the experience for detailing or maintenance, he still wanted to work on something he was particularly interested in.

“I have three passions, I guess you could say,” Hall said. “I’m very big into my faith, I love golf, play a lot of golf, and lastly I love cars. I’m very passionate about it, and I feel like you do better work on something you’re passionate about because you care for the customer and you care for the car, so I figured I’d pick something in the automotive industry.”

He was quite positive looking back at the trade show for the class held recently, recalling how he practically didn’t stop talking throughout the event – with plenty of folks in the packed room stopping by his table.

This attention has proven decent for his business, as Hall reported he’s already had the opportunity to work on one vehicle while also getting calls from several other folks.

“I’d say six or seven other people are reaching out, mostly about the Broncos and the Jeeps just because they’re easier and it’s more relatable,” Hall said. “People don’t like going through insurance and dealing with all the claims and all that stuff… It’s just like a screen protector that when it cracks you throw it in the trash can and you’ve got a brand-new windshield still.”

Those interested in Sunset Tint Shop can contact Hall at 618-612-8960 or jacobhall0815@gmail.com.

Beyond his personal business, Hall also discussed his experience with Monroe County startUP this past year.

He further discussed his initial interest in the program, expressing hopes of owning his own business rather than working a traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job.

“I know that I don’t want to work under somebody for the rest of my life,” Hall said. “I want to get out what you put in, because I feel like I have a very hard work ethic and I don’t always get out what I put in.”

Regarding this year’s group projects, Hall spoke particularly highly of the golf tourney as he was a major leader on the project given his golf interest.

He recalled learning delegation through the process as he was largely the golf authority for the project, breaking down the important parts of a tournament and handing off responsibilities to his fellow organizers.

While not the lead on the second project, Hall was also positive about the 5K color run, having organized the route and guided the participants along the way in a golf court.

“The feeling when that gun shot off and everybody running was second to none,” Hall said. “You’ve got 273 kids, adults, we had a couple dogs running down Parkview, and it made your heart skip a beat.”

Even as this year had a particularly major roadbump with the departure of the program’s initial facilitator halfway through the year, Hall had good things to say – especially praising current program facilitator Priscilla Wilkerson.

He offered a hearty endorsement of the program for any students considering startUP, adding that the biggest variable in the quality of their experience would be classmates as Hall had plenty of good things to say about his.

“I’ll be forever grateful for all that. It was a great time, great connections,” Hall said. “I would 100 percent recommend it to anyone looking to be in the business world.”

Wilkerson also offered her thoughts on this past year having taken the reins in the past few months.

“While it feels like I have known these kids forever, it’s also been such a very short time,” Wilkerson said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time with them. I think that they have developed very strongly over the last few months that I’ve been able to work with them, and I am impressed with the work that they’ve presented.”

Monroe County startUP Board Chair George Obernagel offered a similar sentiment about the student’s growth, additionally praising the work they performed through the year with the two major fundraisers.

“I think overall the class did very well,” Obernagel said. “We appreciate them. I think they’ve learned as they go to different businesses, they’ve had people come talk to them. We appreciate both teachers, and we appreciate all the students through the challenges of this year.”

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Andrew Unverferth

HTC web