A time of growth for Inspirations Paint Chatswood

Store name:

Inspirations Paint Chatswood

Store owners:

Matt McCarthy & Simon Hill

Buying group:

Inspirations Paint

Inspirations Paint Chatswood is one of the original stores in the group and has continued to grow and evolve after it was taken over by new owners in 2014.

The store originally transferred from a Dulux Trade Centre, which had been in the area for over 30 years, to an Inspirations Paint franchise in 2007, and was one of the first Inspirations Paint stores – after the group changed its name from 3D Paint & Colour.

The new owners of the business are Matt McCarthy, who purchased the business in 2014 and Simon Hill who became a business partner in 2016, after holding the role of store manager for almost 10 years. Matt’s former careers include not only working in construction project management, but also operating a country petrol station for several years. Initially the petrol station was very run down, but Matt worked hard to change the type of products offered in the store and eventually saw great results. Simon also has extensive experience in the industry with a background working in several Dulux Trade centres. Matt said he decided to purchase the Inspirations Paint Chatswood store after conducting research on the group as a whole and found feedback was very positive.

“I once heard some great advice for anyone who was looking to buy a franchise. The advice was that buyers should see how many franchises are for sale at any time and how many franchisees own multiple stores. My research showed that Inspirations Paint stores are tightly held by their members. There are also multiple store owners throughout the group, so this is a strong indication of a reputable, successful franchise group. Another thing I like is that Inspirations Paint is owned by its franchisees, so the team at head office exists to support us,” Matt said.

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Revised store layout

Inspirations Paint Chatswood is a freestanding store, with over 400m2 internally and is located on a main highway. Neighbouring stores complement the business and include retailers in furniture, tiles, and new cars etc. When first acquiring the store, Matt said it looked a lot like a trade store but he has made some changes so the store also appeals to DIY’ers.

“After we took over the store, we created a new in-store Project Workshop area, which is a great place for retail customers to come in and explore their project ideas. We have magazines, wallpaper books and a vast array of colour selection tools. We can even brush out real paint for customers on large brush out boards, so customers can take them home and see what the actual paint colour will look like before committing to that colour,” Matt said.

“The project area is a place where customers can plan their next project with access to everything they need, including qualified interior designers. Most of our customers are time poor, busy professionals. They like to come in and do all the research on their project but often get the experts to do the painting. We try to provide these customers with an environment where they are comfortable and can get all the advice and resources they need,” he said.

Matt said the revised layout of the store has also greatly reduced manual handling, which ensures working within the store is a more comfortable experience.

Tackling competitors head on

While the store’s biggest competitors are the larger hardware stores, Inspirations Paint does offer a significant point of difference through its staff, according to Matt.

“Our staff are paint specialists and provide exceptional service and expert advice. It is this exceptional customer service that will help grow the business over the next 12 months. In-store we continue to focus on providing outstanding service and generating positive word of mouth from existing customers. This not only rewards loyalty, but also generates new business,” Matt said.

“We will also be advertising to potential customers in local magazines, cinemas and on Facebook. This format is based on giving helpful painting advice and creating great colour schemes from our colour consultants,” he said.

Exceptional trade service

With over 80 per cent of the store’s customers being trade, Matt said staff understand the importance of maintaining an excellent relationship with trade painters in the area, so they stay loyal to the store.

“Trade customers appreciate our excellent service and wide product range. Getting that message to potential retail customers is a challenge, but our expertise in trade, combined with our customer service focus, gives our staff an edge when helping retail customers with their projects,” Matt said.

“Despite a competitive DIY market, sales have continued to improve. Our focus is on giving our customers the right advice, products and services combined with personal attention to their project. I believe that this approach translates into great customer experiences, loyalty and positive word of mouth,” he said.

Looking into the future…

To ensure the future success of the store, Matt said staff continue to focus on providing products and programs that make paint projects easier and more achievable.

“We recently added Porter’s Paint to our range and plan to run project workshops on subjects like furniture upcycling, using the Porter’s products. We have also just expanded into a second store in our neighbouring territory of Mosman. Despite being a small store, the new business is very busy with retail customers. Having two neighbouring stores really opens up opportunities for marketing which will benefit both businesses,” Matt said.