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Finsihing Touches

Kat Stromquist

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Southern Refinishing owners Misty and Les Dickerson say their company specializes in refinishing bathtubs, including antique clawfoot versions. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Photo by Cheryl Gerber
  • Southern Refinishing owners Misty and Les Dickerson say their company specializes in refinishing bathtubs, including antique clawfoot versions.

At Southern Refinishing (708 Barataria Blvd., Marrero, 504-348-1770; www. southernrefinishing.com), transformations can take place when you tire of scrubbing your bathroom fixtures.

"We take the old, dingy, nasty stuff and make it look brand new," co-owner Misty Dickerson says.

  For more than 20 years, the company has refinished worn kitchens and bathrooms. The current operation features Dickerson, who joined the team in 2006, and her husband Les, who carries on the business started by his parents. Various cousins, nephews and sisters also work for the company, creating a close-knit environment.

  "We're definitely a family business, and we're hoping to stay that way as the family grows," Dickerson says.

  Dickerson describes refinishing as a time- and money-saving alternative to a complete remodeling project. During refinishing, nothing is installed; rather, fixtures like bathtubs are coated in an epoxy base, then sealed with an enamel finish in a glazing process that takes about two hours. The tub will be ready for bubble baths after about two days.

  "If you ever get your nails done, [the smell] is about as bad as the smell in the nail shop ... but it's quick and convenient, especially for [people who own] rental properties," she says.

  The company also refinishes surfaces like countertops with a faux-granite flecking treatment that gives the look of granite without the hefty price tag. But their specialty, Dickerson says, is refinishing that classic New Orleans furnishing, the clawfoot tub.

  "[With clawfoot tubs], we're restoring something that's an actual antique," she says.

  Clawfoot tubs require a special, in-house treatment to return them to their former glory, which generally takes four to six weeks. The company offers pick-up and delivery, as well as color customization, including different shades on the tub's exterior and interior.

Other projects the company tackles include chip repair, reinforcement of cracked fiberglass or acrylic bathtubs, and their most recent enterprise, tub conversions. Conversion jobs are common improvement projects for safety-minded older clients and nursing homes.

  "We actually cut the apron of the tub to make it more of a walk-in shower," Dickerson says. "It's really good for people who are disabled or elderly."

  This kind of work reflects Southern Refinishing's community-oriented perspective. Dickerson says the company always strives to offer customers the best deal possible, frequently offering promotions (like $25 off refinishing over the holiday season, which is available as a gift card). They also donate to local organizations like the sheriff's office and area high schools, hoping to build an environment where the company and the family can prosper in the future.

  "[We just want to] keep on truckin' it," Dickerson says. "We hope our community keeps supporting us the way we're supporting them."

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