When you're out on a beautiful day enjoying a car show and the sun is glistening off those beautifully polished bodies, you might think of one man - Rich Warner, known to us all as Mr. Shine.
The journey all started around May of 1985 with a visit to the Stormville Flea Market in Dutchess County, NY by Rich and his always supportive and encouraging wife, Jackie.
They stopped to listen to one of the vendors give his sales pitch about a metal polish called Top Brite. The product promised to shine just about any metal from chrome and pot metal to those dull copper pennies in your pocket. Well, the vendor made the sale and Rich tried it out on every kind of metal he could find. Turns out it was a good product and Rich and Jackie's adventure began by successfully selling the product at a couple of flea markets held in the Hudson Plaza parking lot. Rich and Jackie both enjoyed meeting and talking to people about the metal polish but they were both totally unaware that another product was about to enter their lives and give birth to SHINE ENTERPRISES.
The Warners were classic car folks from a time long before I met them. I met Rich and Jackie when they were members of the Hudson Valley Classic Chevy Club and they owned a beautiful 1955 Chevy Bel Air painted a deep, rich blue. I didn't have a classic car myself at the time but had to join the club because of my own love of the cars and wound up being Vice President the year that Rich became President of the club.
Now, we car guys, and girls, are always looking at car related magazines and Rich was no different. One day while reading a classic Chevy magazine, Rich came upon an ad for a new polish for car paint that claimed to be very safe for all finishes and extremely effective at giving a very durable and deep shine and was very easy to use too.
Rich bought a bottle of this new polish and immediately tried it on the back fender of the '55 Chevy from the tail light forward. Well, he was amazed at how smooth, slick and shiny that surface became. Gotta do the whole car now, and that's exactly what he did. This polish did an absolutely phenomenal job and with so little work! Once the whole car was done and people saw it, they all wanted to know what he had done to it to make it look so beautiful. He gladly showed them this new product called Race Glaze Polish and Sealant and people wanted it and wanted to know where to get it. Enter SHINE ENTERPRISES.
In April of 1986, Rich and Jackie bought 10 cases of Race Glaze Polish and Sealant and took a spot in front of Building C at the annual Rhinebeck "Spring Dust Off" in May to start testing the waters and see how sales would go. Well, this year will be his 31st year at this event in the same spot as always.
I mentioned earlier that both enjoyed meeting and talking to car folks and they certainly got the chance to do that because from 1986 - 2004, between May and October, they were vendors in over 400 shows in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In addition, Rich was very busy setting up Dealers in auto parts stores, and auto body supply stores across the North East states, and going back to do follow up work. Many years this involved travel of 25,000 - 30,000 miles per year. As early as 1992, they were buying as many as 100 cases of Race Glaze products at a time.
In 1988, Rich and Jackie acquired a '55 Chevy sedan delivery to use for the business. It was beautifully restored in a bright red with Shine Enterprises in shiny silver emblazoned across the side panel. The sedan delivery made quite a statement at every show they went to. In 1992, they got a Chevy Astro van and had it painted in the Race Glaze colors along with the Race Glaze logo for the extensive travelling that they were doing.
In 2002, with Jackie giving Rich a little push in a different direction, he was encouraged to try selling Race Glaze on QVC, the massive TV shopping channel. Jackie noticed that there weren't many good car care products on QVC and figured that would be a great place to get some exposure.
Rich pitched the product to the purchasing folks at QVC headquarters in Pennsylvania and of the many hopefuls trying to get their products on air, Rich and Jackie were accepted, and received a purchase order.
QVC wanted 1,000 detail kits to start which had to be packaged to their specifications. The first time the product was aired, the host of that segment didn't represent it in a way that Rich felt was effective. They sold some but not enough. Rich begged to be on air with the host to turn things around. Well, he got his wish at 1 am on a Friday morning, for almost 20 minutes, a couple of presentation segments after Dale Earnhardt himself was on air selling NASCAR related products. I'm not sure if Rich ever got to meet him, but the next time you see Mr. Shine at a show, ask him about "The Intimidator".
Although the QVC adventure didn't turn out to be a life changing event, SHINE ENTERPRISES still goes on. Sadly, it is without Jackie by Rich's side. Rich's wife of 50 years and his partner and best friend for 53 1/2 years since they were 17, Jackie passed away suddenly on November 26, 2014.
Now, Rich is re-thinking his way of doing business to insure that it will go on into the future. It's a tough road going it alone. There will be less shows being attended and less miles being put on the odometer, but there still will be the strong commitment to Race Glaze, the product he believes in.
He's revamping his website which is www.mr-shine.com Check it out to see the complete line of products. Rich is also working on building a network of dealers. If you're interested in starting a business for yourself, give Rich a call at 1-800-MR-SHINE ( 1-800-667-4463) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for complete details. Rich will supply the product, the knowledge he's gained over the years and the support necessary to succeed. Race Glaze is currently available at a number of Hudson Valley auto parts stores, including: Hopewell Auto Parts, Jack Haverty's Napa Parts in Pleasant Valley, D&D NAPA in Highland, and Kingston NAPA.
Although Jackie, a nurse in Dutchess County for 36 years, is no longer with us, her memory will live on in the Jackie Warner Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund, set up by Rich in her honor. There is a link on the www.mr-shine.com site to the scholarship fund and Rich has put up a web site to post pictures of Jackie, inform people how they can make a tax deductible donation, and to keep people up to date on the fund raising progress:
Please help others realize their dreams of a career in nursing by pledging your generous, tax deductible donation.
Be sure to visit Rich at any future shows to get a flyer with complete details of the scholarship fund and of course to pick up some Race Glaze, Flitz Metal Polish, or Purple Metal Polish,to make your vehicle stand out at your next show.