Pandemic changes lead Newport Harbor High teens to create CurBros curb painting business
Trent Edmondson used to work a job on the Balboa Island ferry.
But when the pandemic set in, the 17 year old decided that he’d leave his job. His mother, Cindy Edmondson, didn’t have the best immune system, he said, and he wanted to limit his exposure to strangers to protect his and his family’s health.
After he quit, he said he’d been looking for things to do outside attending his classes at Newport Harbor High School, where he is a senior.
Then, he saw an advertisement for curb painting.
“I thought, ‘That’s a great idea. I think I can do it,’” Trent said, laughing. “That day, I talked to my friends. We started to work on it and ... just jumped right in and got a bunch of different materials. My own curb has like 10 layers of paint on it now because we wanted to get it just right.”
That was the start of CurBros, a business venture made up of Trent and childhood friends Corey Campbell and Dylan Bernal, both 17 and seniors at Newport Harbor. Organizing began in December, but the team didn’t start painting in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa until last week. Corey and Dylan said the business was all Trent’s idea, but Dylan added proudly that he came up with the name.
Corey said that he stopped helping his dad at the family’s automotive shop to help limit the exposure of his family to the coronavirus. He used to do things like sweeping the shop and cleaning the restrooms, but now he’s focused on the curb-painting business, which they said has received positive feedback.
“Initially when we posted it on Nextdoor, we didn’t get very much attention in the first 24 hours,” Corey said. “But after that, it started to blow up with a lot of positive stuff from the community.”
CurBros have around 25 curb paintings scheduled through the next week, if the weather permits, and have started the process to apply for a business permit in Costa Mesa. City officials from Newport said that the three-man team will need to apply for encroachment permits to paint curbs, but will be able to block a number of addresses into the same approval as long as property owners consent.
Corey said that the three have known each other since the second grade and went to Woodland Elementary School and then Kaiser Elementary. He lives across the street from Trent and Dylan lives nearby. All three call Costa Mesa home.
The way it works is that people can call or text any of the three and schedule a time to paint. The three try to work all day on weekends, but on weekdays will head out after class and paint until it gets too dark to see. They can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They charge $20 a curb and will either split it evenly or keep the total — whoever paints it gets it, Trent said. People pay them through online apps like PayPal or Venmo, but they’ll also take cash or check as long as it’s contactless to keep them and those they work for safe.
The Newport Harbor Baseball Assn. is starting up a Champions division, which will give special needs kids the chance to play the sport with an on-field assist from players in the organization’s other programs.
Trent said he likes that they’re running their own business and said he feels it’s good experience as he plans to study business when he goes to college, though he doesn’t know where yet — acceptances won’t be announced until March. What money he gets from CurBros, he plans on putting toward his tuition.
Dylan said that he liked the ability to control his schedule for CurBros to work around his day-to-day, including on weekends when he works early Saturday mornings at the Dory Fishing Fleet and Market in Newport Beach.
“Whatever I have going on, I can easily schedule curb paintings in-between,” Dylan said. “I think if we get a good handle on it, get things running, I could see it keeping on even after the pandemic.”
“Although it’s our work, it’s really just spending time with our friends,” he added. “Our bond is getting stronger by working together.”
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