by Yustin Riopko
CHARLOTTE – Family-owned paint store, Hunter Coatings, has existed since 1947.
Current owners Andy and Jenny Stanush are its third generation of owners. They’re proud of the company and its direction. The cause for the success, according to Andy, is threefold.
“Under one roof, you are not gonna find the depth and breadth – and the knowledge,” Andy said. “That’s why our customers keep coming back to us. They know they’re going to walk out with the right product.”
Andy and Jenny Stanush, and their two children, now 13 and 15, bought the company (formerly called Hunter Paint) in 2007, and changed the name to reflect their more comprehensive selection of products. Hunter Coatings deals exclusively in premium brands like Benjamin Moore, ML Campbell and Sikkens, carrying wood finishes, lacquers and every color of paint on the spectrum.
Andy’s proudest coatings are the “green” ones though. When they took over the business, the Stanushes resolved to use not only higher quality paints, but specifically eco-friendlier ones too.
“When my oldest [daughter] was young and first moved out of her crib and into a bed, I wanted to find some low VOC paint,” Andy said. “I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot at the time because I didn’t know any better. When I asked for low VOC paints, they looked at me like I had two heads – they had no idea what I was talking about!”
VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, – often found in solvent-based lacquers and paints – are a type of
organic chemical that are known to cause sinus irritation and asthma in people, as well as cancer in animals. Unfortunately, Andy has found his original idea easier said than done.
“I was a bit naïve,” he admitted. “I overestimated the market, and at the end of the day, as much as you want to change things, you gotta pay the bills. Instead, I’m trying to find low-VOC/ high-performance coatings so people at least don’t have to refinish as often. That’s less waste, less empty cans and paint to dispose of.”
Between the community’s apprehension about eco-friendly paints and the 2008 recession (which struck just as the family was taking on the new company), the Stanushes’ run with Hunter Coatings has panned out unexpectedly. Nevertheless, Andy thinks they’ve hit their stride.
“I’m not big on clichés,” he said. “But after you do it for a while, you see they exist for a reason. One of those is: ‘If you’re not growing, you’re dying.’ I believe that you can’t just sit and flat-line and get comfortable, because the minute you do, you’re gonna get run over.”
That’s why Hunter Coating maintains the newest paint technologies and tries to serve its community in unique ways, like hosting “Pro Days” – a kind of program Hunter marketing manager Sue Jaszkowski described as “customer appreciation day on the pro side.” For this upcoming Pro Day, the business is trying something new.
Jaszkowski explained, “Before, it was ‘Come down, get some sweet deals and have a free lunch or breakfast, because we really appreciate you.’ Now, it’s ‘Come down and have all of that, but we’re also gonna teach you something that could add value to your business and your clients.’”
“We’re not just here to sell coatings,” Andy added. “If you’re not helping your customer in some way, they’ve got plenty of other options. Yes, we have the best products but there are other products that work. We need to find a way to make [customers’] lives better or improve their business.”
Want to learn more?
Hunter Coatings will host industry experts, as well as anyone who would like to learn from them and catch some deals at the next Pro Day, scheduled for May 24. The event will focus on garage floor epoxy application.
The company is located at 9315 Monroe Road.
Call 704-321-5990 or visit www.Hunter Coatings.com for details.