Painting with a Twist; St. Petersburg Florida first US franchise celebrates 5th Anniversary (St. Petersburg, Florida) … August 7, 2014 After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, friends Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney found a way to twist a tragedy into a purpose. Knowing their neighbors needed to de-stress, they thought it’d be fun to hold events where people could learn to paint, drink wine and relax. They jointly invested $10,000 and, in 2007, opened Painting with a Twist, which offered two to three-hour painting classes four times a week. They kept prices low, $35 to $45. “It was bring your own wine. We supplied everything else,” said Maloney. Once a month, they donated a day’s worth of sales to charity. The business has done very well and this year; 2014 there are now over 160 franchises and growing! June 2014 Fox and Friends featured Painting with a Twist as one of the top 5 franchises hiring right now. Painting with a Twist is the largest single employer of aspiring artists in the country
Leslie and Marvin Gay former residents of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina transplants opened the first Painting with a Twist franchise in St. Petersburg Florida July 2009. Today they are celebrating their 5th successful year in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District. The couple opened their first Painting with a Twist studio in 2009, a second location in Tampa 18 months later and now they are preparing to open their third studio next month in Clearwater.
Starting a business during the height of the recession? Did it work? Leslie, and her husband Marvin, a retired accountant looked at the Painting with a Twist franchise and saw it as an opportunity to invest in something they could control. Has it been a good investment? The Tampa Bay studio sales have been averaging in about the top 10% among all franchises in the country. The St. Petersburg studio has experienced an increase in revenue every year and not in a small way. The most current statistics in 2014 showed a 54% increase in revenue during the first six months. So what is the successful business model of Painting with a Twist? Facebook and email marketing are the key channels of communication. Each studio’s website provides the painting class schedule and registration is handled on line with pre-payment of a credit card. This a customer service business and the Gays believe their studio’s success is largely due to the amazingly talented artists they have on their team who lead the classes and inspire the customers seven days a week. The results? Each studio is entertaining and creating a great experience for about 350 people every week. And, the #1 advertising vehicle are the customers themselves. “Word of mouth” is the #1 way people learn about Painting with a Twist.
One of Leslie and Marvin’s core business values is giving back … The Gays schedule a monthly charitable event at each studio. Leslie shares; “We feel so good to be able to give back to our community and to charitable events far beyond what we could ever do on our own.” Most recently the St. Pete and Tampa studios participated in The Vera Bradley Cancer Foundation Painting with a Purpose. The Gays raised over $3000 for the cause. “Ties and Tennis Shoes” is another annual local charitable fundraising event with Pinellas Education Foundation. The couple is active in many local organizations; Grand Central District Association, Tampa Bay Business Owners, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce and St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. Leslie is active in Network Professionals Incorporated, South Pinellas County and Working Women of Tampa Bay. Marvin is the Treasurer and active in St. Petersburg Kiwanis
The Gays have received national media attention with their Painting with a Twist studios…The New York Times, Peter Greenberg; nationally recognized Emmy award winning travel editor for CBS News, Good Housekeeping, and most recently; HGTV filmed a spot in the Tampa studio for the popular television show, Property Virgins. The episode is scheduled to air this fall.
Opening the very first franchise of a brand new business venture – five years later, is it what they thought it would be? Leslie envisioned having one studio to supplement Marvin’s retirement income. With the earnings of the studio she wanted to buy a Mini Cooper and provide extra money for them to travel and do fun things. What they found was they fell in love with the business. “Customer service is very important to us. We listen to our customers and are responsive to meet their needs” says Leslie. “What we did not know is that we would feel so rewarded every single time we have a class… to see the smiles on our customer’s faces and how proud they are of what they made is a great feeling.” continues Leslie
For a complete list of all the upcoming painting classes and special events refer to the websites. Classes: 2-hours is $35. And 3-hours is $45. Bring your own wine, snacks, friends and
St. Petersburg Studio: www.paintingwithatwist.com/stpetersburg (727.327.4488)
Tampa Studio: www.paintingwithatwist.com/tampa (813.839.2409)
*Link to Fox and Friends video June 2014 http://video.foxnews.com/v/3629289042001/top-5-franchises-hiring-right-now/#sp=show-clips