Paint Place Warragul evolves over four decades

Paint Place Warragul is a shining star in the Paint Place Group, after the store recently completed a total re-vamp and continues to deliver expert advice from one of the most experienced teams in the business.

Business: Paint Place Warragul
Owner: Jamie Purcell
Location: Warragul, VIC
Buying Group: Paint Place

Store owner, Jamie Purcell started his career in the paint industry as a trade painter at the age of just 16. He decided to hang up his paint brush at the age of 22 and began working at Paint Place Warragul as a salesman. He quickly worked his way up to store manager where he managed the store for over 10 years. Finally, four years ago Jamie was given the chance to purchase the business and make it his own.

“After completing a couple of business management courses, I managed the store for quite a while when the opportunity came up to buy the business from original owner, Paul Roche, about four years ago. Paul had run the business since it was first established in the early 1980s,” Jamie said.

“I have made a lot of changes since purchasing the business. When I first bought the store, we were still using pen and paper, so the first thing I did was implement a full computer system,” Jamie said. 

“I believe we have also built the business up significantly through this data base because we are able to get in touch with our customers via social media. We now have around 5000 customers on our data base, which is great to have in such a small town,” he said.

The data base is also used for EDMS (Electronic Document Management) which allows Jamie to store customer’s information they may access later on.

“The data base also allows us to store all the paint colours and products customers have purchased in the past, so when they go to do some painting on the house or painting on a job, they know exactly the colours they purchased previously. This has been a really good add on for us,” Jamie said.

“No one ever comes into the store with a tin of paint anymore and say they need a certain colour because we have all of this information on our system. The trade really relies on this, but having this feature is very helpful to the retail customers as well,” he said.

Stand out business

Jamie also attributes the store’s success to consistently revamping facilities in-store while also ensuring the store continually maintains the relationships it has built with its customers over the years.

“We are just on the front foot with our business. We are very big on working closely with painters and we are heavily into social media. We have also built up a lot of solid customer relationships over the years. I am a local guy and growing up in the area has also helped to cement those businesses as well,” Jamie said.

“I have also inherited some great staff including a fully qualified design girl who has worked at the store for over 17 years now. She is very well known around town. All together we have four full timers, a full time book keeper and three part timers in store. When I took over the business three years ago, there was only myself, Janine, who is the store’s colour consultant, and another person working the store, so we have definitely grown the business when you compare the amount of staff we have now,” he said.

Trading under the Paint Place brand

Paint Place Warragul switched to the Paint Place brand 10 years ago when Jamie first began managing the store.

“We chose to banner the store to Paint Place because being a part of this group gave us strength in buying power and head office support, while also maintaining flexibility to make changes within our own individual businesses if we wished to do so,” he said.

Boasting a 40 per cent DIY and 60 per cent trade base, Paint Place Warragul has grown and developed over the years by remaining big on customer service and also by hiring staff who have solid product knowledge when it comes to selling paint across all areas of the industry including automation, industrial, decorative and marine paint. 

“There are a lot of businesses in the area that support our automotive and industrial categories. We have several automotive paint shops locally and we also have several large metal fabricating customers. We have a part-timer who is our rep for these stores, and delivers product to these businesses. The town is also booming with building development as we are about 100 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, which is great for business,” he said.

Many businesses in the Warragul area support the store’s automotive and industrial categories.

Local competition

The 350 square metre store is set in a shopping strip and Jamie believes the store stands out from competing stores in the area due to being well known in the local community for its service, product knowledge, friendliness, presentation and its long standing relationships.

Jamie now faces some fierce competition with a large Bunnings store set to replace a smaller Bunnings store in town, however he did not seem too rattled by the prospect because he has built up so many solid relationships over the years. Jamie plans to combat this new competitor by opening the store seven days a week, as opposed to six days.

“We have also recently completed significant changes instore. Just some of the changes include a new colour room, new shelving and we also now have a new automotive paint mixing room,” Jamie said.

“We have all laminate chips now for retail customers to pick from, as well as a range of stone bench tops so our customers can also do all of their colour consulting out of this area of the shop as well,” he said.

Growing into the future

Jamie plans to continually grow and market the store over the next 12 months through DIY nights and also via its popular social media platforms.

The DIY nights will be particularly promoted during the cooler months (once the COVID-19 crisis is over) and Jamie said he will also use his social media channels to keep customers informed on issues that need to be addressed during the pandemic, including new distancing laws and encouraging online orders to reduce foot traffic in-store.

Jamie said he already has several plans in place in making the store as safe as possible for its customers and staff.

“We are currently encouraging phone and online orders for pick up and deliveries by social media and we have also ensured social distancing is implemented in-store by having one way in, one way out access for customers,” he said.  

Looking ahead…

When the current pandemic settles down, Jamie intends to continually market and grow the business through DIY nights which specifically target the female customer.

“We held a lot of DIY nights last year which included information nights on innovative products, such as chalk paint. We held nights like this to educate our female customers and get them comfortable in coming into the shop.”

“We have been working really hard on enticing our female customers and making sure they know the shop is a female friendly environment. We now employ four female staff members, so they do not feel intimidated when they come into the store,” he said.

Paint Place Warragul owner Jamie Purcell with team members Janine Davis, Nicole McStay and David Gange.