“We've gradually grown over the last couple of years, and people are realizing that our product renews and restores headlights better and longer than anything else out there,” said owner Chris Watts of Ringgold. “We've worked our way up from a trial-and-error idea, to a product that can now be picked up at dealerships, truck stops, and even bigger stores like Ace Hardware.”
A lifetime “car guy,” Watts had an automotive paint and body shop in East Ridge, Tenn., before falling on hard times, as was the case with a lot of small business owners throughout the country.
“It was a real rough patch when all that was going on in 2007 and 2008,” Watts said. “I went out of business, bills were piling up, and I went almost five months with no income at all.”
Shortly thereafter, a twist of fate occurred that opened up Watts' mind, and literally shed some light on his future.
Watts says that a friend of his who owned a car dealership approached him about cleaning up headlights on some vehicles at his lot.
“I've loved cars all my life, but I really wasn't a headlight expert or anything,” Watts said. I sanded away some of the clouded and yellowish parts of the headlights that had been damaged by the sun, but it didn't take too long for cloudiness to come back.”
After thinking about it for a while and experimenting with various methods, Watts was eventually able to discover the right ingredients and the right remedy to restoring the headlights while also protecting them from further sun damage.
“Before I knew it, I was making anywhere from $600 to $800 a week restoring the headlights,” Watts said. “Dealerships, used car lots...anywhere that had to do with cars, I was checking in with them to see if any of there headlights needed to be done.”
Subsequently, Watts started putting the do-it-yourself kits together and he was quickly in the market as the “Headlight Renew Doctor.”
“I was training people how to do it, and I was on the road to places like Atlanta, Huntsville, Birmingham...I started taking sales trips everywhere and to every company around trying to get them to just try it.”
Nowadays, Watts' brainchild is produced at the Orange Grove Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the company continues its growth.
“We did about 3,000 kits the first year, and it will be closer to 50,000 by the end of this year,” Watts said. “We recently struck a 15,000-unit deal with an Australian company, and I have a trip scheduled for South America coming up in February.”
With the popularity of his product growing by the day, Watts says that although he may have to expand the production format in years to come, he plans on keeping the main office and the main production site in the area.
“Our entire product is made in the USA, and it's printed on the front of the box,” Watt said. “We could probably get some components of the kit made in China or somewhere and save a little bit of money, but it means a lot to me that we keep it right here. I also always want to keep the product made at Orange Grove, because they do such a great job there, and they've been really good to us since we first started.”
Watts' kit can be found at ACE Hardware locations and various dealerships throughout the Chattanooga area and in Ringgold. More information, including tutorials on how to use the product, can be found at the company's website HeadlightRenewDoctor.com.