New Orleans -- With the ink still wet on the Valspar-Ace Hardware deal, Ace retailers got their first look at Ace's vision for its Valspar paint departments. The vision includes a pair of endcaps and 8-ft. color displays featuring Clark & Kensington on one side and Valspar on the other. In between the rests a counter, mixing equipment and an overhead "Color comes home" message.
Valspar and Ace employees were busy answering questions, showing colors and generally promoting the new program, which is expected to deploy in October. They also spread the word of Clark & Kensington's No. 1 ranking in the recent Consumer Reports article on interior paint.
The deployment will precede a marketing effort -- a paint grand opening -- that Ace VP paint John Surane, described as "our biggest national event ever." Surane also raised the goal for Ace paint -- to reach 10% market share in 10 years, double its current share.
Retailers on the floor who spoke to HCN ran the gamut from those who embrace the change enthusiastically, to those who want to stay with their existing brands, notably Benjamin Moore.
Incentives are in place to reset the stores, both in terms of product and fixtures. And Ace says that with Valspar it will have a national brand partner with all of the national marketing support that comes with it. It will also allow stores to operate with a single tint machine.
"We as a team recognize that there are a thousand scenarios out there in your paint department," said Surane, speaking at the convention's general session. "We're ready to work with you on that."