The Paint Shop, 47 years rolling and primed for expansion

Posted on May 06, 2022 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments

For almost 50 years, The Paint Shop has provided Atlantic Canadians with quality products and advice for home decorating projects. Having started as a single store in Newfoundland, the business has since expanded to the Maritimes, with plans to grow across Canada.


Old Paint Shop location from 1981 (photo credit: The Paint Shop)


Primer phase

The Paint Shop was founded by Dave Fost in 1975 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Inspiration came when Dave visited a paint and wallpaper store in Toronto. He brought the concept back to Newfoundland and opened his first store on Campbell Avenue.

Seeing early signs of success, Dave quickly started looking for a business partner to help with expansion. Instead, Dave found his first franchisee. A second store was opened on Topsail Road by the Burt family, which set the stage for The Paint Shop’s growth across the province.


The Paint Shop’s colour studio, with a wide selection of paint colours to choose from (photo credit: The Paint Shop)


Choosing chips

The Paint Shop started with a focus on paint and wallpaper. Originally carrying Matchless Paints, they began partnering with Benjamin Moore in the ‘80s. When wallpaper became less popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s, they expanded their product offerings to include flooring and window treatments.

With the help of technology, operations have also evolved. Manual paint mixing machines were upgraded to automated versions, and electronic reading technology was added for exact colour matching. The business also promotes a Benjamin Moore app that allows customers to upload a photo of their planned project and virtually view different paint colours.


A recent product expansion for The Paint Shop has been marine and industrial product lines, including Akzo Nobel’s International coatings line (photo credit: The Paint Shop)



In 2003, Bob Payne became a co-owner of The Paint Shop and was joined by Rob Simms in 2014 when Paul Burt sold his shares. Together, they’ve been growing the business within Atlantic Canada.

A successful growth strategy has been acquiring existing stores that sell Benjamin Moore paint. In 2017, The Paint Shop acquired Paul Susnis Decorating and its three stores in Halifax, giving them exclusive rights to sell Benjamin Moore paint in the area. Another successful tactic has been partnering with complementary businesses like Cohen’s Home Furnishings, which led to a Paint Shop location in St. Anthony in 2021.


A sales counter inside a Paint Shop location (photo credit: The Paint Shop)


Helping hand

A consistent focus for the business has been customer service. With a certified home decorator on staff at each store, The Paint Shop is dedicated to providing expert advice.

Rob Simms, current co-owner and V.P. of sales and marketing, spoke of his appreciation for the tenure of Paint Shop staff. “We pride ourselves on our customer service and maintaining a staff that has been with us for a long time who are experts in what they do. It’s not a family business, but feels like one.”


Paint Shop locations in Dieppe, New Brunswick (left), and Clarenville, Newfoundland (right) with modern branding (photo credit: The Paint Shop)


Present picture

Today, The Paint Shop is the largest Canadian retailer of Benjamin Moore and FloorsFirst products, and the largest retailer of custom blinds in Atlantic Canada. The business currently has 39 total locations across Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Speaking of future plans for the business, Rob says The Paint Shop is “focused on growth” and plans to “expand The Paint Shop across the country, but always maintain the personal service and product expertise that has made our company successful since 1975.”

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