Throwback Thursday: The Paint People of New Jersey
A 1995 snapshot of Ricciardi Bros, just before an explosion of growth.
The Oct. 9, 1995 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, featured several colorful quotes from Walter Ricciardi, who with his brother Robert, ran the four-store paint retailer Ricciardi Brothers.
The headline told the story: “NJ paint dealer refuses to let the competition faze it.”
We got that one right. Since then, Ricciardi Brothers has grown from four locations to 45 stores in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. During that period of impressive growth, the family-owned and operated company adjusted its slogan from “The Paint People,” to “The Paint and Decorating People,” an adjustment that better reflects its diversified business.
Back in 1995, the mindset of Walter Ricciardi revealed that the company was willing to adapt to serve its customers and grow.
“My father started the company in 1933,” he said. “He realized back then that changing with the times is necessary to succeed in business.”
Walter Ricciardi added: “When Home Depot first came into the area five years ago, all the independent dealers stared to worry,” he said. “Independents had to take a second look at their business and make some changes to combat these superstores. The stores that are around today changed with the times.”
Training was a big part of the culture in the 1990s. “My employees can converse knowledgeably with contractors and do-it-yourselfers,” said Ricciardi.
The article reported that the company was going after commercial and government accounts, and had successfully landed maintenance for the Newark, N.J. School system. And it also reported that word of mouth was working in the paint retailer’s favor.
“There’s a salesperson at Rickel in East Orange [N.J.] who sends many customers to us, and he’s not on our payroll,” Ricciardi said.
HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact us at SchafferAssociates.com.
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