The Hetenyi family has been painting the homes in Canberra for the last 45 years and now the baton is being passed to its third generation. Mike Hetenyi began the business of serving the community back in 1978 and as a testament to his commitment, his family continues to dedicate their commitment in 2023 and beyond.
Mike fled Hungary and arrived in Australia as a refugee in 1956. Although he had studied architecture in his homeland, when he arrived in Canberra the only work he could get was as a painter. He purchased his first paint store in 1978, naming it The Decoration Centre. Before long, he had two stores – one in the suburb of Phillip and the other in the suburb of Mitchell.
Mike’s sons Alex and Michael took over the businesses in 2000, shortly before Mike retired at the age of 67.
Michael left the paint business later to work as a government driver. Meanwhile, Alex continued to run the Phillip store until it was acquired by Haymes Paint Company this year. Although he no longer owns the store, Alex remains attached to it, serving as its manager.
Alex began working part-time in the store beside his dad when he was still in high school. After playing professional basketball for the Canberra Cannons and Geelong Supercats in the NBL, between 1988 and 1994, he decided to start working at the store full-time in his early 20s.
Now Alex’s own son, Louie, who is 17, has joined the fold, working full-time at the Haymes Paint Shop Phillip store. Louie represents the third generation of Hetenyi paint enthusiasts to serve the Canberra community and carry on what began 45 years prior.
Earlier this year, the family patriarch Mike passed away, leaving a great legacy in the paint industry in the Australian Capital Territory.