by Melissa LaScaleia
Matt Lillich, the owner and operator of Coastal Tinting, is originally from Michigan. He attended college at UNC
Wilmington, where he got started working with window film.
“I graduated in 1993 on a Saturday, ”Matt tells the Insider in an interview. “And on Monday, I was managing the company. I moved to Myrtle Beach when I bought this business from the original owner in ’96; I’ve been running it ever since.”
Initially, Matt almost exclusively dealt with sun control products that monitored the amount of heat and glare coming through windows, without loosing the light. This better enabled the usage of the windows so people didn’t have to close their blinds, and prevented upholstery and carpeting from fading in the sun.
“It’s fading protection where people most see an immediate payback from what we do,” Matt says.
As technology has become more advanced, he’s shifted the focus of his business to high performance safety and security window films that provide increased glass safety and also help eliminate negatives associated with direct sun exposure. There’s a light and dark shade, so it offers varying levels of glare and heat control.
“Most modern homes have a lot of glass,” Matt says. “So it leaves many points of vulnerability in the home.”
The window film is a thick, heavy gauge product that is invisible to the naked eye and much more difficult to break if there is damage from storm or a forced entry. Additionally, the film is designed to hold the broken glass together (if it is broken), protecting people and things inside from shattering glass.
With these protective films, it’s the passive nature of their protection which makes them so immensely popular. It’s always there; doesn’t require maintenance; and doesn’t change the appearance of the windows. It’s like an invisible safety shield.
“Our installations provide an immediate benefit,” Matt says. “There is a distinct satisfaction in knowing that the day
I do an installation in a customer’s home, I’ll make that home a more comfortable place. And you have to be very meticulous to do this, which is right up my alley.”
Matt estimates he has installed the product in at least fifty houses in the Market Common. And in the past ten years, has received an increasing number of corporate and government requests.
“The exact same product we’re putting in peoples’ homes is going up in military bases and court houses,” he says. “Additional security measures taken in schools are focussed on the windows. It’s becoming more trusted and relied upon for performance and security benefits.”
The product is guaranteed to last twenty years, but Matt has been monitoring the work he has done over the past thirty years and still hasn’t seen the end of the products’ lifespan.
Security window films are supposed to be attached to the frame of the window in order to maximize their protective features. And it makes the installation more difficult and time consuming. This step is so crucial to the functioning of the product, that film manufacturers across the board won’t test the product unless it’s installed this way. Coastal Tinting is the only Myrtle Beach company that installs the product this way for all their clients, whether commercial or residential.
“The idea with the frame attachment is to not allow the frame kick-out to occur if something pushes up or tries to force its way through the glass,” Matt explains. “It’s there to hold that sheet of broken glass in and keep it adhered to the frame.”
“We’re a very small company,” Matt says. “I have over thirty years in the industry, and I’m involved with every single installation and sales consultation.
“Without the love and support of my wife, Laura, I don’t know that the company could have made it through the great recession of a decade ago. She’s been very supportive over the years, and has been very understanding of the off-hours work that has to occur as a small business owner.”