Seneca business owner on ground floor of shiny new career [Anderson Independent Mail, S.C. :: ]
(Anderson Independent-Mail (SC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 25--SENECA -- A longtime lover of neatly manicured man caves and anything automotive, Jerry Ansley wanted one of those colorful, glasslike epoxy floors for the garage of his Florida home in 1997.
When an unqualified contractor botched the job, Ansley learned a frustrating lesson. He also went on a learning binge about epoxy, and the lessons are paying dividends today.
Ansley eventually hired other experts to fix his floor in Florida. A few years later, when his family sold its automotive sound-system business and relocated to western North Carolina, Ansley turned to epoxy as a second career.
He and brother Micah relocated to Pisgah Forest, N.C., where since 2007 they have operated a polymer business that has kept him busy with six or seven installations a week, many of them at homes and businesses in the Lake Keowee area.
In January, Ansley opened a new business -- American Garage South Carolina -- in Seneca, in part because he wanted to locate near Lake Keowee and in part because he wanted a slower pace than his previous job allowed. Epoxy, the cured end product of epoxy resins, is a chemical-resistant glue used in a wide range of products -- everything from electrical components to materials used in root-canal procedures. For industrial purposes, it bonds to concrete to make a smooth, glasslike protective shield.
Ansley, who also makes furniture with epoxy, loves to mix it with elements that provide an attractive as well as functional floor.
"I wanted to retire," Ansley said last week, "but I wasn't ready for the rocking chair."
After converting a former branch bank into a 600-square-foot showcase of epoxy floor art, Ansley's venture has presented more opportunities than expected. In the first two months, he poured new floors in seven houses and one commercial setting.
"I only want to do one a week," said Ansley, who is booked through April 1.
That pace gives Ansley, a 61-year-old Vietnam veteran, plenty of time to work on his health -- through exercise -- and his creative side. The epoxy can be poured in plenty of colors and combinations, and Ansley enjoys toying with them all.
"What I like most is, if my mom were alive, she'd say, 'You're an artist,'" Ansley said from his mini-showroom at Oconee Square.
The description from a customer in North Carolina caught Ansley by surprise.
"I've always been the guy doing the manual stuff, climbing under the car," Ansley said.
But the description fits. The colors and designs offer so many combinations -- 150 and counting -- that floor artist seems a more apt title than licensed certified installer of epoxy. The license is important, Ansley says, because epoxy -- as he discovered when he was a customer -- is a volatile product that behaves differently according to conditions.
Ansley has long been passionate about creating a tidy parking spot for his Harley-Davidson, and his new career enables him to meet others who enjoy walking on glossy showroom floors where gray concrete once stood.
The gig also enables him to ride his bicycle about 75 miles a week and hike about 25 miles a week, all with a black Lab companion named Sammy. Ansley no longer rides the Harley, which waits at the store.
Ansley, director of purchasing for 15 years at the family's automotive electronics business, is now salesman as well as co-owner (with his brother) and president.
"I've never been a salesman. I'm still not," Ansley said. "I like the product. I have a passion for it.
"I really enjoy it so far, especially doing (only) one job a week. I can take my time, show the customer all the options, make some really attractive floors."
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