Mike Burke graduated with a marketing degree from Western Carolina University in 1994 and spent 6 months of the following year as the #1 salesman at Scott Clark Toyota. He had always wanted to create something of his own, so in 1996 he moved to Myrtle Beach and opened his first tint shop, Innovations. Homesick after a year at the beach, he returned to Charlotte and started a mobile tinting company, The Tint Man, in 1997. He quickly became the primary tint provider for most of the stereo and accessory shops within a 50-mile radius of Charlotte. In fact, he was so successful as the Tint Man that in 1999 he created a new company, Lightning Mike’s, and opened his first retail location to keep up with demand. Over the next 6 years, Mike built Lightning Mike’s to 6 locations around Charlotte, offering a variety of aftermarket automotive services – inspections, A/V, accessories, wheels & tires – in addition to window tinting. During this time he also opened a small car dealership. By 2005, after gross sales of $1.6 million, Mike had a small child at home and decided to sell Lighting Mike’s to spend more time with his family. He chose to take a break from the auto industry, pulling on his educational background to start an ad agency, Pinpoint Advertising, which focused on direct marketing to upscale customers.
With Southend Graphics Mike took what he’d learned building and running his first several companies, and decided to follow a Starbucks-type model, focusing on quality rather than quantity with an emphasis on providing a superior product and excellent customer service. By doing one thing – automotive services such as tinting, graphics and wraps – extremely well, Southend Graphics built a reputation as the place to go for the best overall customer experience. Over the course of the shops’ 10 years in business, Mike has now expanded his product offering to include mobile tinting services, automotive paint-protection film, roller shades, residential and commercial flat-glass tint and specialty, printed films for commercial storefronts, branding and advertising and automotive graphics and wraps specializing commercially.
Suouthend Graphics now has 7 local retail locations, from Matthews to Concord and Huntersville to Lake Wylie, 3 flat glass divisions covering the entire Charlotte metro and surrounding area, and 2 franchise locations in Charleston SC and Boston MA. As his shops continue to expand, Mike is careful never to lose sight of the core values that make it great – motivation, teamwork, quality, putting the customer first, and – most of all – caring