Florida Paint Retailer Moves into Flooring

Melbourne, FL, October 20, 2006--In Brevard County's retail business community, the name Richard's has been linked to the paint business for more than half a century. On Saturday, that will change -- a little, according to Florida Today. Richard's Paint and Decorating Center off Post Road in Melbourne -- the retail venture now owned by Rockledge-based Richard's Paint Manufacturing -- officially becomes Richard's Flooring and Design Center. The 10-year-old retail store still will sell paint, but the name change emphasizes a new strategy for the Brevard-based retailer, as more so-called "big-box" superstores move into the area and sell everything from stoves to ceiling fans to, yes, paint and flooring. Three other Richard's Paint stores in Brevard are not changing their names or emphasis on selling paint and wall coverings. In the case of Richard's Flooring and Design, the new big-box competitors in its selling radius include Home Depot, a few miles to the northwest on Wickham Road, and a recently opened Lowe's on State Road A1A in Satellite Beach. Chris McCusker, retail flooring manager at Richard's Flooring and Design Center, concedes the competition for flooring and design materials is fierce. But he believes by focusing on flooring and service for middle- to upper-end homes, the store can carve out a niche and broaden sales. In particular, McCusker is eyeing the upper-end housing subdivisions in Baytree, Grand Haven, Suntree and Viera. "The type of people that shop at our store want the service, and it's something you don't get at the big-box store," McCusker said before offering what passes for smack in the retail world. "I like to tell people: 'If you've got a Mercedes parked in your driveway, you may not want to shop at Home Depot for your flooring,' " McCusker said. Don Harrison, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based Home Depot, chuckled at McCusker's comments. "We're the largest flooring retailer in the nation," Harrison said. "We didn't get that way by servicing only one price point. And we've got the customer sales to back that up." The parent company of Richard's Flooring and Design Center, Richard's Paint Manufacturing, was started by Ed Richard Sr. in 1954. Richard's paint products steadily earned a reputation for specially formulated paints that stand up to Florida's sometimes harsh environment of sun, rain and bugs. It has more than 400 distributors throughout Florida and the Southeast. It also operates seven retail ventures -- four in Brevard, and one each in Orlando, Stuart and St. Cloud. In the 1990s, Ed Richard's daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Toby Anastasio, opened two retail paint stores -- one in Melbourne and another in Palm Bay -- independent of the paint manufacturing operation. In 1996, the couple opened Richard's Paint and Decorating Center on Post Road, across the street from Brevard Community College's Melbourne campus. When the Anastasios decided to get out of the retail business, Richard's Paint Manufacturing purchased the business, along with the Anastasios' Palm Bay paint store on Stack Boulevard. Chuck Gantz, general manager of the Richard's Paint retail division, said the Melbourne store probably will be the only business to focus on flooring. "That store is unique, in that we always had a flooring center there," Gantz said. An important relationship that helped with the Melbourne store's new focus was a partnership with CarpetsPlus Color Tile, a national supplier of floor coverings and designs. The aim is to use the name recognition and inventory available from CarpetsPlus Color tile to capture more of the market. "That relationship is very important recognition for us," Gantz said.

Related Topics:Coverings, Carpets Plus Color Tile