Posted: October 01, 2010
Gen XYZ: Matt Shoup, 29, M&E Painting
Faced with a layoff, this Loveland resident painted his way to successBy Maria Martin
Sometimes, a little hardship is just the incentive needed for a successful venture.
In March 2005, Matt Shoup was laid off from his corporate job. Recently out of college, with debts and a mortgage to pay off, he faced his challenge head on.
"I had no money to my name," Shoup says. "But I had a wife who was supportive, and I knew I had to make it happen. It was a good time to test myself and see what I was made of."
He's made of the stuff that creates a successful painting company, even in the face of a bad economic situation. This year, M & E Painting, which serves residential neighborhoods in Northern Colorado, had a client base of more than 40 people. As of the end of 2009, Shoup had grown M & E Painting to a company that pulled in more than $2 million in revenue.
The secret to his success, says the owner of the Loveland-based company, is a positive attitude.
"It's a tough time for a lot of home-improvement companies, but if you keep the quality up and you have a good team, you'll be fine," Shoup says. "If you say you're going to be down 30 percent, you will be. We decided to grow. We have a belief in excellence, and that helps build the company."
Because of the seasonal quality of his work, Shoup employs contract crews that work in the spring through autumn, and he has a staff of around 15 full-time people.
A solid reputation has led M & E Painting to be recognized by the Northern Colorado Business Report as one of Northern Colorado's Fastest Growing Companies in 2010. ColoradoBiz also featured M & E this year as one Colorado's Companies to Watch, a program sponsored by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
"I have an amazing team," Shoup says. "They do a great job, and that positive reputation is so important to our customer base."
David Sward, who worked with Shoup painting houses when they were in college, is one of those team members.
"He is truly a wonderful man first and a businessman second," Sward says. "He believes in benefits for the employees and freedom for us to work and reach our own individual potentials through his motivation."
His humanitarian efforts, Sward says, help Shoup stand out in the community.
The team that Shoup praises gets together when M & E Painting holds its annual free paint makeover.
"It all started in 2007, when we had a customer call and say she couldn't afford to have her house painted because her husband had died of a heart attack," Shoup says. "I was on my way to give her deposit back when I thought, ‘Hey, we should do this for free.'"
This year, the company will paint three houses for needy families. Paint and labor are all donated.
"What you get from it is incredible," he says. "It's the intangibles. You can't even describe the look on someone's face when you tell them you're going to paint their house for free. It builds positive energy."
Maria Martin is a freelance writer.