Channel Islands-based store, The Paint Pot Colour Centre, outlines its long trading heritage and highlights the support it has received from suppliers such as Bradite.
In Jersey, the Houiellebecq family has been serving the local decorating trade for over 120 years. Covering just 45 square miles and home to some 106,000 people, the largely rural island has a buoyant building and construction sector and boasts around a dozen outlets for decorators.
Perhaps the most aptly named is The Paint Pot Colour Centre, where owner Anthony Houiellebecq is proudly carrying the family business through its fourth generation. “In 1899, my great grandfather set up a decorating business called J Houiellebecq & Son. My grandfather, my father and his brother all joined the business,” says Anthony, who began work as an apprentice decorator when he left school.
The business emphasis changed in 1992 when Anthony’s father, David, set up a retail shop to supply high quality paint to the decorators. A couple of years later he closed down the decorating arm of the company to concentrate on selling paint, adopting a slogan that has underpinned the business ever since: ‘The trade secret anyone can share’.
The Paint Pot, based in St Helier, serves both trade and the general public, catering for local builders, DIYers, hotels, schools and even the public sector including the island’s Government.
The firm’s ethos is straightforward — to serve the island and its decorators, providing good quality paints at competitive prices but also to provide good advice. Anthony explained: “My father, in his time, realised that there was room for improvement but also for competition and it’s the same today. It’s important to have a quality service that people can trust. Part of that is having good sales reps in our UK suppliers and good technical support.”
Here, Anthony makes particular reference to UK-based Bradite Paints, the quality of its products and the help he receives from Bradite Technical Sales Manager, James Burton.
“James is more than happy for any member of my team to ring him up, put him on speakerphone and discuss what is the best process and specification for a particular job. That is something that is very much appreciated by our customers,” says Anthony.
This level of service has helped to build up customer loyalty but, equally as important, customer re-assurance and confidence in using a particular product for a specific job.
The Paint Pot began stocking Bradite specialist paint products ten years ago, having initially stocked Little Greene and Paint & Paper Library. “From that time,” says Anthony, “we’ve never looked back. We’re more than happy.”
One particular benefit has been that Anthony and his team of three employees can mix the Bradite products instore using the supplier’s mixing equipment. He also speaks highly of the turnaround in getting paint deliveries, with the manufacturer ensuring a response within 24 hours.
Anthony said: “I’ve taken on two small warehouses to stock paint to keep up with demand because, being on an island, you have to get supplies by ship and at certain times of year the weather is bad. Furthermore, there’s point-of-sale information that customers find extremely helpful. And it’s not just colour cards, but data sheets that explain everything about the use of the products.”
Customer feedback is of course a key consideration for the success of any business and here The Paint Pot and Bradite score highly.
“At one point we couldn’t get enough of ‘One Can’ because it was flying out of the shop as people were using it for so many applications,” revealed Anthony. “Only the other day, I had a decorator say to me that ‘One Can’ is one of the stock items he keeps in the van along with his other necessities.”
‘One Can’, Bradite’s single pack, quick-drying, low-odour, water thinned primer/finish coat, has been received well. There has also been an excellent response to ‘Floor It,’ the new quick-drying floor paint.
Bradite Technical Sales Manager, James Burton visits the island on average about three times per year, and this is welcomed by Anthony. “It’s good for us to be face to face and he finds time to do staff training for us as well. He’s also prepared to look at specifications of work on the island if necessary, all of which are things that the people of Jersey appreciate — the expert coming over and talking to them, giving them confidence.”