Melissa Walsh

Paint dealer seeks community

Grosse Pointe News | August 23rd, 2018 | Business news


Paint dealer seeks community By Melissa Walsh

Grosse Pointe Woods — Kevin Westfall promises to find the right paint for any need.

“We won’t be out-serviced and we won’t run out of stock,” Westfall said he told his staff when he opened Grosse Pointe Woods Teknicolor Paints store Feb. 4.

The Woods location, on Mack, is Westfall’s sixth Teknicolor Paints store in the area, adding to the Birmingham, Pontiac, Farmington, Canton and Redford businesses. Teknicolor is the largest independent dealer of Benjamin Moore products in Southeast Michigan.

Westfall, 58, has sold paint coatings 40 years. He tapped his interest in and knowledge of paint to launch his first Teknicolor Paints store in 1997 in Birmingham.

Over the years, Westfall learned to differentiate himself as a paint dealer by focusing on customized customer service.

“If we don’t have it, we’re going to find it for you,” he said, whether the paint the customer needs can be found at one of his Teknicolor Paints stores or a specialty paint found at a paint store owned by someone else.

He said this is why his customers range from someone shopping for paint for a bird house to a building contractor buying 100 gallons of white paint.

“We try to find out what service is important to you, personally,” Westfall said. “Is that carrying your paint out? Is that matching your paint color exactly? Is that remembering a particular contractor’s birthday? Just the personal touch. I like to say we’re small enough to react quickly and take care of anything that comes up, but we’re large enough to supply materials for very large jobs and in a very timely fashion.”

Westfall found his way into the movie business for the more than 20 years Hollywood movie-makers were visiting Detroit. He supplied paint for “Hoffa,” “Polish Wedding,” “8 Mile,” “Dreamgirls,” “Gran Torino” and “Superman vs. Batman,” just to name a few.

“‘Wizard of Oz’ was about $350,000 in revenue. That was a huge movie,” he said. “What got us the movie contracts was a couple trickling-in phone calls and they asked for kind of off-the-wall stuff. And we said, ‘Yeah, sure. We can get that.’ But we had no clue how we were going to get that, but we figured it out. So consequently they called us again and again.”

Westfall said his stores carry a large line of architectural coatings for homes and commercial buildings, stains for decks, faux-finish products, glazing compounds, metallic paints and countertop coatings. Though he does not offer marine and automotive coatings, he will point customers to someone who does.

Westfall works at the Woods store several times a week, often in the early morning, beginning 7:30 a.m. when contractors stop in for their orders. Aaron Binder, a 1996 Grosse Pointe South High School graduate, and Ryan Heaton, from Eastpointe, greet and help customers full time. Part-timer Ben Sheahy is a senior at Grosse Pointe North High School.

Binder said, “Some of the people I actually went to high school with moved out of town or moved out of state. Then they got older and started to move back to the Grosse Pointes. And they come into the store and I get to see them, people I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Hiring locally is in step with Westfall’s effort to immerse his business in the community. He also supports Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Little League and is participating in the 2018-19 Grosse Pointe South High School Blue Devils coupon book. In addition, Westfall supplied material for the 2018 Junior League of Detroit Designers’ Show House on Boston Boulevard in Detroit.

He said he’s impressed with how the community also has embraced his business.

“It’s the first store where we’ve done a mayoral ribbon-cutting,” he said, adding, “I live in Novi, but I love coming to this store. It’s just a fun store to work at. The people. The neighbors. It’s just been a great area for us.”

Westfall said Teknicolor will participate in the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce “Deck the Storefront” holiday window decorating contest and the Santa Claus Parade. He added he’s looking for youth programs to support and would like to get involved in charitable work, such as painting a house for a needy family. How-to classes will be offered in the store, as well.

“We’re just trying to find ways to be involved with things,” he said.