You’ve undoubtedly seen their amazing creations, whether it was on TV or you were lucky enough to catch an in-person glimpse. A short time ago, we even featured the Matriarch of the family and their business as our latest Leading Lady. But how much do you really know about the ins and outs of Kindig-It Design?
In November, we got the chance to catch up with the man in charge of it all, Dave Kindig, and get a grand tour of the newly-renovated showroom and office space inside their city-block-long shop. We took that opportunity to essentially be a fly on the wall as the crew took on another “Shop Tour Friday” at their ever-changing Salt Lake facility. Check out the details below!
Like many renowned automotive builders, Dave Kindig started his career in the family garage. While carrying on a full-time job, Dave worked on side projects for friends and family members in a mere 24×36-foot garage space, dreaming of one day owning a custom shop of his own. Charity Kindig, Dave’s wife, was fully on board with the dream since she is a car girl herself.
After the couple’s second child, Drew, was born, Dave had the “green light” so to speak to quit his job and go into business for himself. He took that leap just six weeks after Drew was born, with Charity and their now two children along for the ride. Charity recently admitted to us that she was “absolutely terrified to take that leap of faith with him.” But that jump proved to be one of the best decisions the couple ever made.
In just two short months, the new business needed more space, so Dave moved Kindig-It Design into a commercial building in the Southeast part of Salt Lake City, Utah. Nearly 18 years later, the now world-renowned shop is still in the same location, albeit with a few more shop bays now in use.
“He came home one night and said, ‘I need to hire a secretary,’” Charity told us in an interview for her recent Leading Ladies profile. “I said ‘absolutely not’, and that was the beginning of the end for me, I have been here ever since. It is the most rewarding experience to build a business with your best friend, and the hardest thing I have ever done.”
Now occupying a full city block of space, Kindig-It Design has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 17-1/2 years. The company currently has 28 employees, including the Kindig’s oldest child, Baylee, who at 20-years-old, has worked her way up from being a parts runner for the guys in the shop, a job she held at just 16, to the company’s executive assistant.
Whether they are blood relatives or not, every employee of Kindig-It Design is considered family, with everything from birthdays and anniversaries being celebrated, to Bunko game nights and top golf outings with the crew.
In 17 years and counting, Kindig-It Design has built, customized and blown the industry away with hundreds of unique build creations. From Dave’s roots in classic Volkswagens to fully tricked-out modern muscle machines, the shop does it all. One thing remains the same from the shop’s one-man-band beginnings – each custom project Kindig-It Designs takes on, starts off with a one-off rendering penciled by Dave himself.
You’d never know that Dave never had any formal art training by looking at his countless renderings, all of which hold a dear place in Dave’s heart as well as prime real estate on the walls of the custom shop.
Among the builds that Kindig-It Design has put out, are celebrity-owned cars, SEMA show cars, and countless big-time award winners. You don’t get to where Kindig-It Design has by producing less than stellar rides, and the shelves of awards and accolades proves just what kind of caliber builds the company turns out on a regular basis.
In 2014, the Kindig-It Design crew took another big leap of faith, signing on with Velocity for a unique television show featuring a look at a number of the company’s high-profile builds from start to finish. The show, Bitchin’ Rides, is currently filming season four at the Kindig-It shop, with crews documenting all aspects of many of the company’s current projects on a nearly daily basis. But no matter how many film crews are on hand, the Kindig family will never fall into the spiral of fame.
Fame can do strange things to people and their business. While the Kindigs admit that Dave can’t even go to the grocery store without being recognized and approached for pictures and autographs now thanks to the show, the family maintains its all-around down-to-earth nature, not letting fame get to their heads or change who they are as individuals. And that’s not something everyone in the spotlight of this industry can say!
Whether you’re someone on a Friday tour or a quirky automotive journalist, the Kindigs have time for everyone. In fact, when we were there, Dave surprised a group about to start their tour by asking them all to guess what number he was thinking. A young man in the group named Cooper guessed the closest number, securing himself a personalized and signed Kindig-It Design poster. Dave was all smiles as he explained to us that he liked doing things like that for fans.
The New Digs
Just this past year, Kindig-It Design fully renovated the shop’s showroom. What once was an oversized garage bay with offices and Dave’s drawing room tucked away off to the side, was opened up to a top-notch modern masterpiece with more floor space for completed builds and the company’s apparel line on ground the level, and roomy offices with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the showroom floor on the upper level.
Every detail of the new space was thoroughly thought out, with modern, machined metal and glass banisters, stained concrete floors, a beautiful wood staircase, and of course, ample wall space for Kindig-Its’ countless magazine features and awards to be displayed with friends’ artwork and nostalgic pieces. Even the crown molding, vents, and woodwork are custom, with little “Easter Egg” features just waiting to be found in every corner.
Just passed the showroom doors, the shop has changed a bit as well, including new paint booths, air filtration systems, lifts, and other more top-notch machinery being added within the next year. Of course, the separate but conjoined upholstery shop, JS Custom Interiors, will remain “in-house” at the facility, doing all of the custom interior work for the Kindig-It builds, as well as many others. The state-of-the-art equipment and automotive-minded individuals that make Kindig-It Designs one of the industry’s top shops all work in unison.
Spending the day at Kindig-It Design only solidified our excitement about the company. From the impeccable builds to the people that make them all happen, we were nothing but impressed at what we saw.
While we got the inside line during our shop tour, the company does offer guided tours to the public every Friday. All you have to do is call the company and speak to Baylee, and you too can get an inside look at one of the coolest custom shops around!