Volume 9, Issue 4                                      July/August  2005

15 MINUTES
     INSTALLER FOCUS:  FLAT GLASS

CHARLIE AND THE FILM FACTORY

Charlie Arakelian, owner of Northeast Tint in Springfield, Mass., walked away with second place in the first-ever Architectural Glass Tint-Offô. The self-described artist and musician sat down with Window Film magazine for an interview after the competition and let us in on what makes him tick.

Q: How long have you been applying window film?

Thirteen (13) years.

Q: How long have you owned your own business?

Three (3) years. I worked for someone else off and on for about ten years making peanuts, then decided it was time to make it on my own.

Q: How did you get started in the business?

I started in the late 1980s tinting autos. All of my friends had cars tinted.

Q: How many projects do you think youíve tinted since you started?

Iíve laid down hundreds of yards of square feet.

Q: Whatís the hardest part about owning your own business?

The costs of operating a business, whether itís electric bills, insurance or window film. The most expensive part is advertising, finding new ways to reach customers, staying fresh and keeping the excitement going. 

Q: What are your future plans for your business?

I want to nationally franchise Northeast Tint within the next two to five years. Within ten years, I want to go international and make the company the largest window film installing company in the world.

Q: What is your favorite frame to film?

Each frame presents its own circumstance, so thereís no least or most favorite. Each time I look at a window, I know what the situation will be Ö if itís wood, aluminum, steel, the kind that drips stuff onto the film Ö but theyíre all fun. 

Q: Did you encounter any obstacles in the tint-off?

The only problem I had was dealing with the Washington airport. They smashed my toolbox, broke the bottles and ruined my big squeegee.

Q: How competitive did you find the Tint-Off?

Very. Itís nerve-wracking, so that makes for a more interesting, competitive situation. Next year, Iím sure there will be more contestants.

Q: Will you compete again next year?

Certainly. Itís been fun. Itís been such a pleasure to finally have an internationally-recognized shooting point to gauge industry standards. For more than ten years it seems that when Iím on the job, whether itís residential or commercial, I find myself competing for ďworldís best tinterĒ on a personal level. The scope of our business happens on ladders, where speed, using extreme caution, your skill with a razor, not dropping things come into play. 

Q: What are your hobbies?

Tinting. I chose my favorite hobby for my career. Mama and papa always said do something you love to do. My day goes by *snap* like that. One minute itís 6 a.m. and the next itís 6 p.m. After that, I pick up my paintbrush because Iím an artist, and Iím in a bandóInfragreenósinging, playing acoustic guitar and mandolin. I also snowboard.

Fun questions:
Favorite food? Armenian and sushi
Favorite movie? The Big Lebowski
Favorite pastime? Singing and snowboarding
Favorite magazine? Window Film magazine and Snowboarder
Favorite car? My Toyota Previa
Favorite sport? College basketball
Favorite sports team? Celtics
One word description of yourself? Complex 

WINDOW FILM
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