Back in 1986, Colours Inc. was a single location paint distributor with three employees, one delivery vehicle and just 28 customers. Over the 30 years since Tim Evans, president of Colours, purchased the business, he has expanded its operations to include 240 employees, 118 delivery vehicles and 8,750 customers with 30 locations in five Mid-Atlantic states. Evans attributes his company's success to their commitment to quality products and superior customer service, but employees at
Colours also gratefully credit the organization's growth to Evans' innovative vision.
On Sunday, January 24, over 140 Colours employees and friends planned a surprise party for Evans at the Kalahari Resort in Pocono, PA to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary. A reception hour preceded dinner, and guests were treated to a heartfelt speech from Evans' daughter, Ali. His son, Tom, also contributed a congratulatory video from San Diego. Dessert and a toast by Evans concluded the celebration.
Evans was very pleased and grateful for the celebration, and said, "It was a total shock to see all my wonderful friends and employees who have supported Colours throughout the years. The next day, someone said that they have never seen Tim Evans speechless, but that is exactly what I was! I could not have had a better surprise and night than to celebrate with all those who were able to attend. It was a great way to celebrate our success over the last 30 years and to kick off another great 30 years together."
A car enthusiast from childhood, Evans began his automotive career as a professional Indy car racer, allowing him to meet a variety of industry professionals. When Evans decided to retire from racing in 1986, some of the PPG representatives he'd met informed him that one of their paint distributors, located in Evans' hometown of Wilkes-Barre, was interested in selling his business. Evans recalled, "I got in contact with him and purchased his one location. In 1986, we had one store and three employees, including myself; today, there are 30 locations and over 200 employees."
Over the past 30 years, Colours has grown by opening new locations in strong potential markets and through acquisitions of single location distributors and larger companies with as many as eight locations. "With each store opening, either in a green market or through acquisition, our team has many planning meetings, scheduled weeks of management training, and set up computers, phones and all software before the first day of opening so that, on Day One, the employees can flip a switch and be ready to go," Evans shared. "With an acquisition, we have kept all previous employees on board. We love the insight and fresh ideas that those employees bring to us. It's almost an acquihire situation where we are acquiring people and the inventory is incidental."
According to Evans, many former owners are relieved to make plans that ensure the future of the company they've worked so hard to build and the futures of their dedicated employees. He stated, "We are very flexible with their participation after the acquisition. We have owners who stayed on to work with us for years, and others have collected a check on the closing date and moved to Hawaii."
The current focus of Colours is providing more than just a great performing product; Evans believes their business solutions staff and technical representatives set them apart from the competition. By finding and retaining sales, their Business Solutions team helps Colours' customers be more productive and profitable. In addition to helping vendors test new products before Colours markets them, the company's technical team provides customers with new product demonstrations and are available to assist with conversions from our products. Evans said, "We pride ourselves on our technical team's abilities. Each of our technical reps is PPG certified, and some members of our technical team are certified in the industrial side of the market as well. Most importantly, they are a phone call or scheduled appointment away from answering any of our customers' questions, whether it be a refinish or industrial question."
He noted that some of the most impactful changes he has seen over the years are paint and environmental regulations. Evans recognizes the importance of staying abreast of the regulations in each of the five states where Colours is located. "We need to keep up-to-date with what legislation will look like in each of those states in the next year, two years and five years. It is important for us to keep adapting with this industry."
Although Colours boasts 30 locations, Evans hopes to continue expanding his company: "We vet several store openings and acquisitions annually to find the right fit for us. We are always open to listen to a proposal from a fellow distributor who is looking to sell their company or to begin the discussion of an exit strategy for the coming years. We are always looking into possible areas of growth."