Excerpt from - inPaint The Magazine for Professionals Oct/Nov 2015
For over 30 years, D.L. Richie Paint'n Decorating has been on the same busy corner in Bethel Park, PA, a suburb south of Pittsburgh. The company put up it's paint (and wallpaper and carpet and flooring and window treatment) store in 1984, and that was after spending 21 years before that as a paint contracting company. Now, you can get both; get paint at their store and hire them to paint your house.
"My dad started in 1963 as a painting contractor," said store owner David Richie Jr. "In 1984 we opened up a retail location and we've been doing both ever since. My son Doug is coming into the business and will be the third generation. He graduated from Duquesne and is taking a year off at this point," said Richie. "He'll be back here in December ready to rock and roll."
Richie is excited about the extra help as business is booming, and part of that is thanks to his son's college degree. "Doug got a degree in advertising and marketing and he immediately got us on Facebook and Twitter and got an awesome website going," said Dave. And he knows his paint too. He's got ten years contracting experience as well. Visit the site at dlrichie.com and the first thing you see? D.L. Richie Jr., with a smile and a quote of "How can I help you?" before you get in the door--before you even get out of your own door. "My face pops up," he chuckles. "it's informative if you call me for an estimate, since when I come to your house you can immediately place the name with the face." Along with that is information about all the services offered and the products they use to do it. Occasional blog posts give homeowners helpful tips and industry news.
Staying in place
D.L. Richie Paint'n Decorating's growing long roots in one location, as well as its success on both sides of the counter, has helped solidify its reputation. As with any successful dealer, people come for the advice. "We know what we're talking about," said Richie. "We're pretty much up to date on product knowledge and application. People want to know how do I paint a wall, do I need this tape, what about this tray?"
By sticking with Devoe through its journey of being acquired by one company and then another, Richie wound up being a dealer for a hometown company Pittsburgh Paints. There's a certain advantage to having one of the world's largest companies right up the road. "Devoe was originally in Louisville and it was always a bit of a battle trying to sell the Devoe name along with the paint," Richie recalled. "Now we're hoping with the PPG logo it will sell more--hometown paint, hometown dealer. We're sure it can't hurt any."
Devoe is one of those products, he pointed out, that has quality in the can but not necessarily the name recognition that goes with it--which helps make it at home in an independent store where the staff can educate customers on the quality of the brand. "PPG changed a couple things but kept more of it the same and put the PPG logo on it, "he observed. "They combined a couple products to lower the number of SKUs they would have to make and sell." Richie is happy with how things came out, and it happy to be part of the PPG network.
Give by the Gallon
Getting involved with PPG Pittsburgh Paints, the PPG brand available exclusively to independent dealers, also helped get him involved in a local charitable project, which is how he came to our attention. Better yet, he helped himself by helping others. "Paint For a Change" is a nationwide initiative funneled through PPG Dealers to help rehabilitate community structures in need of paint restoration. "It was developed as part of the brand's commitment to locally-owned business and to help local retailers give back to their communities," the company describes.
Richie had been involved in some community projects, but nothing on this scope. When his PPG Pittsburgh Paints rep approached him with this, it eventually allowed him top do a spruce up of Peters Creek Baptist Church, which he and his family attend.
The church was first established in 1773, a mere 19 years after Devoe Paint started; the buildings in user now date from the 1930s up through 1966 so they most likely needed a little help. Pastor Greg Adkins welcomed the chance for an update. When first approached by Pittsburgh Paints about Paint for a Change, the store staff bandied bout a few ideas for projects, but none of them seemed suitable. Then Richie asked Adkins if he would be open to a bit of repainting. At first they weren't planning a large make over, just a couple bathrooms, a hallway and a multi-purpose room.
Looking ahead, Richie sees a bright future and is excited to have his son join the crew. His father, David Richie Sr., still comes in every day at age 81. This store is one of the new re-generation of independents that has weathered every storm that's come its way in come out stronger.
"We are doing very well," he reports. "We have been for the last couple years. When the crunch was here, no one was doing well. Probably the biggest challenge we have now is trying to keep up. I'm looking forward to my son back in here and taking on some things."
Richie doesn't spend a lot on advertising. It's expensive, even though he commented that if you say something long enough in an ad--even if it's "we'll install your carpet for $39.95," people will eventually beliee it and come by to check it out. He attributes his success to good people, good location, and a good reputation that's now going on 52 years. "We sit on a rather busy corner. We have some trucks and out storefront and I tink a big part of our success is that people see we're here."