CROTON, N.Y. -- Jody Finglas immigrated from Ireland to the United States in the early 1990s with hope, a soldier’s resolve, and in need of concrete plans. The Ossining resident, and owner of Finglas Painting, Inc., reflects on his nearly quarter century of life in America and now knows the journey was worthwhile.
“I’m glad that I did it,’’ said Finglas, who has been the owner of the Croton-based company for nearly 20 years. “It provided a very good lifestyle for my family and children. I was able to buy a house. I was fortunate to do all the things I hoped for. I don’t have any regrets.”
Finglas served nine years in the military in Ireland, mainly with infantry, and also served numerous tours with the United Nations in Southern Lebanon. “When I left, I was looking for something different,’’ Finglas said. “There weren’t a lot of opportunities in Ireland after the military. I decided to come to the States and see what was here.”
He found employment working with Michael and James Duff, brothers from Ireland who were living in New York, and learned the painting industry. “I started from the bottom up,'' Finglas said. "They had a lot of high-end clients, and they were very versatile. I learned specialty finishes, textile applications, really everything about painting.”
After six years, Finglas moved to another painting business with Irish roots. Working with Seamus Meegan, Finglas continued painting, but also acquired business skills. Meegan retired from the business in 1999, and Finglas took over.
“I was ready,’’ Finglas said. “Once he decided to make that transition, it was easy. I had been running the operations. I learned painting from the Duffs, and how to run a business from Meegan.”
There were times, especially early on, that Finglas considered returning to Ireland or learning a different trade. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stick with it,’’ he said. “I tended to gravitate to what I knew, and that was the military. I thought about enlisting here. When I realized I knew what I was doing, I made a conscious decision to stick with it for a few years.”
Finglas said the difference between the painting services his company provides and many other contractors is the attention to detail and demand he places on quality, customer service and superior products. “We do all of our own work,’’ he said. “We don’t contract any of the work out. We’re very customer service oriented, and we give customers exactly what they want and need. They have come to expect a certain level of service from us and that’s what we deliver.”
As years progressed and products changed, Finglas started to notice that some of the oil-based finishes they were providing were not as good as they used to be. “They simply didn’t make things as well as they used to,'' he said.
After doing some research, Finglas decided to switch to Vermont-based Fine Paints of Europe, and saw the differences immediately. “Early on, we noticed that it was far superior than anything we had used in the past,” Finglas said. “We’re constantly looking to give clients the best products we can offer at the best price.”
Most of Finglas’ customers return for repeat business. He finished a project in Nyack on a stately Victorian, and the home’s architect recommended Finglas to others in the neighborhood. “Pretty soon we had done several older houses in the same neighborhood,’’ Finglas said. “The clients really appreciated our work.”
Finglas said he enjoys the interaction with customers, and provides comprehensive details to them before starting work. He prides himself on physically checking in on each project daily, so that “customers know they can connect with me, if needed.”
“It’s not the same thing every day,’’ Finglas said. “Every day presents its own set of challenges. It’s very satisfying at the end of the day, when you see the completed project and the client is happy. The next time that client has another project, you know they’re going to call you. There’s something very satisfying about that.”