A famously friendly region, the Santa Ynez Valley fosters communities that care and businesses with a heart. Honoring that model, the folks at Santa Ynez Paint offer quality products at competitive prices, deliver old-fashioned customer service and give back with gusto.
Established nearly 30 years ago, Santa Ynez Paint is the only store in the Valley specializing in house paint and related sundries. Here, shoppers find top-grade Benjamin Moore products and a comprehensive selection of brushes, rollers, pans, tarps, paint thinners and sponges for creating faux effects.
“You come in and it’s kind of ‘old school,’” smiles Mike Kappmeyer, who bought the business seven years ago.
“You get a one-on-one lesson on painting, and you can ask any questions you want.
“You can pick a color,” he continues, “or we can do custom matching. If somebody finds a piece of carpet they like, we’ll match it. We’re all computerized, although you’ve got to have a good eye, too, because the computer isn’t always right on.”
The staff at Santa Ynez Paint includes not only Kappmeyer’s daughter, but also his wife and occasionally his grandchildren. It’s a family affair supplemented by a couple of long-time locals. “The former owner, Don Buono, comes in half-day a week,” Kappmeyer says. “When we bought the store he agreed to stay on and help us for awhile, and seven years later, he’s still working for me! He likes to see all his old friends who come in.
“I think that’s the best thing about the business,” he adds, “getting to meet the people in the Valley.”
Kappmeyer, a general contractor who retired 12 years ago and soon found himself bored, got into the paint business five years after moving to the Valley from Whittier in 1997. He firmly believes that the most economical way to upgrade a home is to put on a fresh coat of paint.
“For about $30 you can paint a room and update your house with a nice modern look,” he explains.
“You couldn’t put in draperies or new flooring for that, and it sure beats trying to buy another house!”
Every year, Kappmeyer and his family donate their time and quantities of paint to raise money for a number of local causes, including the Elks’ Rodeo Queen and the Rotary Club’s Monte Carlo Night.
“The more you give, the more you receive,” Kappmeyer declares.
“We’ve done fundraising for Make-A-Wish Foundation, too. At El Rancho Market last year, with help from Blake Colvin, with Cupcakes for Cancer, we raised $14,000 for a local kid.”
The son of a roadster racer and an avid racer himself, Kappmeyer shares his philanthropic message with his family, especially his 17-year-old grandson, Christian Copley, a NASCAR-sanctioned driver who participates in the fundraisers. “I’ve taught him that he needs to give back,” Kappmeyer says.
“We’re big into racing and the paint store is very involved. My grandson drives a car for us at Ventura Raceway, and at Irwindale he drives a truck on the half-mile pavement track.
“I used to race at Ventura 25 years ago,” he continues. “I started a kids’ class there, and Christian got involved with me, building and racing cars. We raced with kids at risk, kids who weren’t as fortunate as he was.”
Copley regularly appears at fundraisers, where he hands out caps and T-shirts, signs autographs and talks with children who eagerly approach him.
“I’m so proud of him,” Christian’s mother, Kristie Erath, beams.
“When we have autograph sessions, he takes time to talk to the kids. He says, ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘Thanks for coming out.’ He’s really sweet with the kids.”
As a working example of Kappmeyer’s guiding adage, Copley was recently offered a rare opportunity.
“A spokesman with the Speed Channel was so impressed with Christian’s work with Make-A-Wish,” Erath says, “the way he spoke and how the kids idolized him, he asked him to go on tour to raise money for a foundation he started.”
In the offing are a television special about children at risk that promises to take Copley to the Indianapolis 500 and also give him a chance to co-host during the Super Bowl game. “I’m pretty proud,” admits Kappmeyer. “I have a great family and the store has been a pretty good little business for us.
“We can’t please everybody,” he adds, “but we sure try!”
Santa Ynez Paint is located at 3563 Numancia St., Santa Ynez, 686-5114, and is open Mon.-Thurs. 7:30 a.m to 5 p.m., Fri. 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.