When Craig Freund shuts the door of Mid-America Glass Tinting, it will mark the end of his 35-year career in window tinting. Mid-America will be shutting down and some of the accounts have been sold.
Freund started the very first tint shop in Chicagoland while his then-roommate Tom Shultz, ran the shop.
“It happened so fast. Tom was the guy that started it all,” Freund says. “Once we got going, people wanted their cars tinted ASAP.”
Three years into his tinting career, Freund decided to set up his own shop. He wanted to focus on residential and commercial buildings along with the ever-growing automotive market. Freund’s business took off, and by the mid-80s he was tinting cars and buildings all over Chicago.
There was even a time when Freund would literally work all day. When stretch limousines were becoming increasingly popular in the early 90s, Freund decided to take a night job on top of running his own shop. By day Freund would run Mid-America Glass Tinting and by night, he would head into the city and tint limos, sometimes until midnight. Once midnight struck, Freund would make the 32-mile jaunt back to Schaumburg, Ill., and get ready for the next morning running Mid-America Glass Tinting.
Freund’s clients have run the gamut in his 35 years of tinting. He has had clients like United Airlines, W.W. Grainger and Abbott Laboratories. He also applied safety film to Israel’s Consulate in Chicago.
One of Freund’s most memorable jobs was at Wrigley Field, the home of his favorite baseball team: the Chicago Cubs. Throughout his years, Freund had multiple projects at the friendly confines. One of his projects was tinting the Bud Light Batter’s Eye in center field. The tint job allowed fans to walk and talk about the suite without ever distracting the batter. And this year, Freund did work at Wrigley Field as the Cubs were preparing for their 2015 playoff run.
Retiring as a small business owner is a big accomplishment in its own right. Freund worked 6 days a week for 25 years so his shop could flourish.
“It’s not easy preparing for retirement as a small business owner. There’s no substitute for hard work,” Freund says. “You need to always think about it, even in the tough years you need to contribute to your 401K and in the strong years you can’t spend too much of the profits.”
In a 35-year career, you’re going to see ups and downs. There were definitely some down years especially during the recession in 2009, but Freund says he had more good years than bad. He also has high hopes for the future of the window film industry.
“Window film is taking off again. There is a lot of money to be made right now with all these new high-rises,” he says.
Freund’s retirement marks the end of an era in Chicago. One of the trailblazing tinters is closing his doors and looking forward to golfing and traveling with his wife in the coming years.
Freund was a long-time Madico customer. His sales rep, Tom Hinds of Midwest Marketing (a Madico distributor), says he’ll miss Freund.
“He was a special customer, having put his trust in Midwest Marketing for his film needs for over 30 years,” Hinds says. “We can’t thank him enough for his loyalty, his friendly attitude, and his service to the Chicagoland community. We are losing a top-notch Madico automotive tinter, Sunscape dealer and good friend.”