Atlas Studios Owner Jacob Kandlbinder

Jacob Kandlbinder, owner of Atlas Studios, demonstrates his car-wrapping technique in his workshop at 5220 Highway 100 Suite A in Washington Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Following tradition laid by his father and grandfather, Washington native Jacob Kandlbinder is now the owner of his own business. As of November 2020, he is providing a car and surface wrapping service via Atlas Studios, 5520 Highway 100, Suite A.

Kandlbinder’s family has been involved with the ZX gas station on Bluff Road for generations, he said. The service station is owned by Arnold O. Kandlbinder Trust and Theola Kandlbinder and it is run by their son.

Like the previous generations, Jacob Kandlbinder will provide the area with automotive-related services, only his shop adjusts decals instead of managing the petrol.

As an alternative to adding a new coat of paint to a car, Kandlbinder covers the surface with what is typically a vinyl wrap. This can change the color, but it also allows for business logos and slogans to be printed on the vehicle.

“The big thing is it can be changed,” Kandlbinder said. “So you can take a car or truck or boat or whatever you want, and then a couple years down the road, if you want to change your mind or change your company name or whatever, you can.”

Although he typically works on cars or trucks, he also can apply a protective film to glass windows, locker rooms, signage or other solid surfaces where someone wants design work.

“My industry is very common for rescheduling and misleading people, and my big thing is I want to be on top of communication with the client; I want to be on top of scheduling,” Kandlbinder said. 

Kandlbinder has over 20 years of design work experience, which began after he received a full ride to East Central College for fine arts.

Now 39 years old, Kandlbinder has gained experience from past jobs in Washington, St. Charles and Fenton, plus a two-year stint in Florida.

Fred Engemann, owner of Washington-based Fred’s Trucking LLC, said he has known Kandlbinder for about 15 years. Since Atlas Studios started up, Engemann has continued to work with Kandlbinder. Most recently, he had his company’s name printed on the side of his semi-truck.

“I like returning to working with someone I know, and I would appreciate it if someone did that for me,” Engemann said. “And I know he has good and reputable work.”

Kandlbinder spent about $30,000 to purchase the equipment necessary for Atlas Studios. He worked with the Bank of Washington on financing for the startup.

He said the cost of his product changes depending on what he is wrapping.

“Is your vehicle white or is it black? Are we wrapping handles, are we wrapping bumpers, are we wrapping mirrors, do you have a sunroof? There’s a million variables that will take a vehicle from $1,000 to $3,000 really fast,” he said.

On his own truck and trailer, he has decorated it with a wrap that changes colors depending on where the viewer is standing. From some angles, it’s purple. From others, it could have gold, green or pink tints.

“Every vehicle is like a new palette,” he said.

Atlas Studios is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and during evenings and weekends by appointment. Interested customers can call the business at (636) 519-4115.