Dana Mitchell, sales manager for Al’s Liner, Plainfield, Ind., has seen truck liners in virtually every hue, from midnight blue to lime green. Mitchell and the company are happy to accommodate a wide range of color choices.
“Black happens to be the most popular color,” he admitted. “But we did have a customer who created an American flag design with stencils.”
The business specializes in premium grade, truck bedliner kits for the do-it-yourselfer. Founder Randy Tomasino saw a niche for a new type of truck liner based on a polyurethane blend. He started the family business in 1994, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Scorpion Protective Coatings, Inc. (ScorpionCoatings.com).
Scorpion Protective Coatings was the first to develop the easy batch mix system. That system allowed Al’s Liner to provide commercial and industrial contractors a professional grade coating that did not require expensive, hard-to-operate equipment.
“Our liner is a polyurethane blend made up of two types of resins,” explained Mitchell. “One part is aromatic, known for its tensile strength. Another part is allopathic, known for its ultraviolet stability. Because of the unique blend, our liners are strong and do not fade or deteriorate in sunlight.”
An acrylic binder allows for custom coloring. Virtually any color seen can be reproduced.
“We spent two to three years developing this product, which is unique to the marketplace,” said Mitchell. “With other liners, you need personal protection equipment because of the ingredients that atomize into the air with every application. With Al’s Liner, there’s no spray booth necessary.”
The liner is applied with a low-pressure hopper-fed gun. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty, guaranteed not to fade, crack or peel for the lifetime of the vehicle.
Al’s Liner started out as a family business and continues as one today. Tomasino works alongside his sons, Clayton and Brad Tomasino, and his brother Greg Tomasino.
“Everyone in the company has been involved with this product for at least 10 years,” acknowledged Mitchell. “It has come a long way since we started back in 1994. We started as a mom-and-pop shop mixing chemicals in a barn. Today, we’re in a 200,000-plus square foot manufacturing facility serving nine nations.”
Customers are a mix of wholesale and retail. The product sells through automotive retail operations. The one gallon kit with the optional spray gun is probably the most popular item.
Potential customers can find lots of information on the company web site. “We were fortunate that about the time we came into the franchise, the Internet was just starting,” said Mitchell. “We were involved in the Internet age from day one. Now, 80 percent of communication with our customers is through the web site.”
Al’s Liner advertises on television and radio to drive consumers to automotive retail stores. The company reaches its wholesale audience by exhibiting at industry conventions. Word-of-mouth is also a large draw for both wholesale and retail.
The greatest obstacle for Al’s Liner has been the fluctuating price of materials. “In the late 1990s, petroleum shot through the roof,” noted Mitchell. “As a result, the price of our polyurethane base went up. Now it’s more in line with what people are willing to pay.”
As for the future, the company will continue to develop new products. “Consumers demand more for their money, and we aim to deliver.”
Owners: Randy Tomasino
Location: Plainfield, Ind.
Years In Business: 16