For Mason Hinz, providing customer service is a priority — one that he has seen modeled by the generations that came before him.
Hinz began Hinz Customs, a business making metal art and fabrication earlier this year, and said his business has grown quickly, due in part to word-of-mouth advertising.
"I'll work on something for hours and hours as long as it's perfect for the customer," Hinz said. "At the end of the day, the customer is first, and if they're not happy, then you're not going anywhere."
Hinz uses a CNC (computer numerical control) plasma table to create custom pieces cut out of steel.
"I've done everything from fire pits to signs for cattle pens," Hinz said.
He also does some parts manufacturing and designs custom signs for businesses and individuals.
"We specialize in signs; however, I'm not limited to that," Hinz said.
He talks with his customers to determine what they want and where it will be displayed, then creates a rough draft to show them before cutting out the final product.
"I like to be given the reins and work my magic," Hinz said. "I like sitting behind the computer and designing."
While he hopes to have a shop that is open to the public in the near future, for now, customers set appointments to meet with him to discuss what they want made.
"At the end of the day, it's my design, but it's also their piece of artwork," Hinz said. "I value that. I want their input."
Signs made out of steel can last for years, and unless a customer requests otherwise, Hinz puts a clear coat of paint on to help them stand up to the weather.
"I have the option to paint," Hinz noted. "I use the epoxy paints, which are super hard and super durable."
He also offers several different finishes for his pieces.
"The cool thing about steel is there's really nothing you can do to mess it up. You can make a mistake and there's always something you can do to fix it," Hinz said. "...It's solid and forgiving at the same time."
It was during his high school years that Hinz first tried his hand at using a plasma table.
"The actual table that I have right now used to belong to the high school. It was the one I learned on," Hinz said.
At the time, there was no class being offered to teach students the software to run the table.
"I started messing around with it and, over time, I learned the software online, watching videos and stuff and kind of taught myself how to do it," Hinz said.
After he graduated in 2012, he was asked to come back and teach other students the same skills he had taught himself. The students' interest continued to grow to the point where Newton High School decided to buy a brand new table, allowing Hinz to buy the old one.
"It's a plasma torch that's run by computer and you can pretty much tell it to do anything you can dream of," Hinz said.
The logo Hinz uses for his business is styled after the logos of previous enterprises his family has been involved in.
"The family logo design, that's something that has been around for quite some time. It started in Clinton, Oklahoma, with Hinz Refrigeration," Hinz explained.
The logo was passed on to his father, who ran Hinz Motors in Newton.
"I've learned a lot, over the past few years especially, watching my dad operate his place," Hinz said. "Customer service is a key thing I learned from him. He took great, great care of everyone who walked through that door. That's what I plan to do."
Hinz said adopting the logo meant adopting the legacy of friendly, honest customer service and quality products offered by those businesses.
"I stuck to that, and I think it says a lot about the past businesses as far as superior quality, superior customer service — a few of the things I really stand behind and I watched my dad and great-grandfather stand behind," Hinz said.
For more information about Hinz Customs, email email@example.com or call 316-288-3046.