Business gives its clientele a different shade

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2003

As the sun beats down from the sky during summer months, even motorists can use a break from the heat.

That's where Mr. Tint comes in. Dan Bartel, who has tinted automobile windows for 25 years, tints windows and installs car radios in cars, trucks and SUVs.

The benefits of tinting are numerous, Bartel said. It can reduce the temperature in your car by 15 degrees. By keeping the car cooler, car-owners do not need to use their air conditioners at a high level. It also blocks UV rays. Window tinting blocks light, keeping the upholstery and the dash from fading.

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"It just makes the vehicle look a lot better," Bartel said.

There are, however, laws when it comes to tinting windows in Minnesota. Tints are not allowed on the windshield. Cars can only reduce light by 50 percent. Trucks and SUVs, however, do not have a tint darkness regulation. Bartel sells tints that allow 35 percent and 5 percent of light in.

Bartel started window tinting when he lived in Daytona Beach, Fla. After eight years, he moved to Albert Lea and set up shop in 1990. This past year, he decided to pursue another market and sold the business to Renee Jessen of Austin. Mr. Tint opened in Austin in April.

Bartel is the manager and Jassell's fiance, Steve Carroll of Austin, helps Bartel between his electrician work.

And Mr. Tint doesn't just tint automobiles. They tint windows on houses and recently tinted the windows in the HyVee deli, making customer's dining experience a little cooler.

One strangest request, however, was glass on an antique piano. A sheet of glass where the sheet music put was scratched and damaged. The customer asked for the tint to hide the blemishes.

"We can't tune a piano, but we can tint a piano," Bartel joked.

Bartel offers a lifetime warranty on the tint, which is made of a laminated polyester. If the tint peels, fades bubbles, chips or scratches Mr. Tint will replace it.

Bartel said business in Austin has been going well, picking up more now that summer has started. He can usually tint four to five cars a day, depending on the job.

"It's just starting up," Bartel said.

Mr. Tint is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and open Saturday by appointment. For information call Mr. Tint at 437-4887.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at