Improving the Store Environment
A fresh coat of paint can be a retailer’s best friend when it comes to giving a fresh look to an old, tired store without breaking the budget. Ian Van Heyst, VP of CertaPro Painters Commercial Services, one of the largest painting companies in North America, discussed painting in commercial interiors and related trends with
Chain Store Age: Compared to other decor upgrades, a fresh coat of paint is a relatively small investment, isn’t it?
Ian Van Heyst: Painting gives a retailer the “best bang for their buck,” or the greatest visual impact for the fewest dollars. It can be anything from a simple repaint of worn or tired areas to a change of colors (feature walls or full store) to regenerate excitement with their clientele. Most retailers appreciate the value of painting given the current economic pressures to keep stores looking fresh with lower budgets.
CSA: What are the biggest mistakes retailers make when it comes to painting their facilities?
Van Heyst: Too often the scope of work is not thought through thoroughly, especially preparation levels and quality of products. If time permits, do two to five prototype stores so that everyone has common expectations. Ensure that the products selected give the short-term results, and will endure for the long term.
CSA: How often should a store re-paint its interior?
Van Heyst: If the proper specification is used, interior painting should last four to six years, except in high-traffic areas, which could be touched up one to two times each year (depending on store traffic). Often, retailers will do such high-traffic areas right after the Christmas season is over.
CSA: Are there any specific challenges that come with painting in a store?
Van Heyst: Our focus is always to get in and out on schedule so that store personnel and clientele are inconvenienced or stressed as little as possible. While on site, all store stock, floors, fixtures, etc. need to be protected against dust or spatter. To make painting ‘no trace’ in this environment comes with experience.
CSA: What are the advantages of using a national painting contractor vs. independent ones in local markets?
Van Heyst: A national contractor provides a single point of contact to source, qualify and manage a work force over a wide geography. Through training and standard operating procedures, a national vendor can provide consistency in pricing, quality and store experience.
CSA: CertaPro Painters is a franchised operation. What impact, if any, does that have on your customers?
Van Heyst: Being franchised allows CertaPro Painters to offer our customers national service through local, trusted and known businesses. With our franchises we have long-standing relationships and agreements that go beyond a single project.
CSA: How do you ensure the same level of quality and consistency throughout your network?
Van Heyst: Through training, standard operating procedures, and a common business culture/language, CertaPro Painters ensures consistency of quality and store experience.
CSA: What about retailers with stores in international locations—can you help in these instances?
Van Heyst: CertaPro Painters has some international operations, though our focus is North America, including Canada, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.
CSA: Does CertaPro offer any services beyond painting?
Van Heyst: In general, we offer a full range of minor-repair services to areas to be painted. On exteriors, we paint, seal (clear coating) and waterproof (above grade), as well as do sealant/caulking work. More extensive repairs to exteriors can include wood replacement, EIFS/brick/block repair, etc.
On the interior, in addition to conventional painting applications, we can remove and re-hang wallcovering, texture walls, drywall/mud damaged areas, repair trim elements, etc.
For rollouts, CertaPro Painters provides more than just painting services, as we partner with other national trade-specific suppliers (e.g., flooring, signage, etc.) to provide turnkey solutions for our customers.
CSA: We’re hearing a lot about the green movement and sustainability. Is that having any impact on the work you do? If so, how are you responding?
Van Heyst: The restrictions on VOCs (volatile organic compounds) has been changing painting specifications for some years already. Setting the proper specification (especially with new technology products) and ensuring quality execution speak to the sustainability component. We work closely with all our valued paint manufacturers to provide the best green solutions to our customers.
CSA: Are you noticing any other trends in the retail market?
Van Heyst: In higher-end retail stores and restaurants, there is still a demand for specialty finishes. On the whole, we are seeing paint being used to create frequent dramatic changes in stores on feature or seasonal walls—we can be in stores several times a year. Painted color is being used to grab consumer attention, and keep it longer.
OfficeMax 1Q sales fall on weak economy
NAPERVILLE, Ill. OfficeMax announced that for its first quarter ended March 29, total sales decreased 5.5% to $2.3 billion compared to the first quarter of 2007. Net income increased in the first quarter of 2008 to $63.3 million, or 81 cents per diluted share, from $58.5 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2007.
OfficeMax Retail segment sales decreased 5.5% to $1.11 billion in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the first quarter of 2007, reflecting a same-store sales decrease of 8.7% partially offset by sales from new stores. Retail same-store sales for the first quarter of 2008 declined across all major product categories due to weaker U.S. consumer and small business spending and the negative impact of the Easter holiday occurring in the first quarter of 2008.
IKEA to open first U.S. manufacturing facility
DANVILLE, Va. IKEA, through its subsidiary Swedwood, announced that it will open its first U.S. furniture manufacturing facility on May 21 in Danville, Va. The 930,000 square-foot Swedwood factory will produce a variety of wood-based IKEA products, the company reported.
“We made excellent progress on construction last year and our installation of equipment and machinery has gone very smoothly,” said Bengt Danielsson, North American president of Swedwood. “Now our primary objective is to complete appropriate operational training for 175 coworkers as well as to ensure a seamless production and packaging process.”