Also catch Winchester BMR booth and paint demos at the Local Business Expo this Saturday (April 28th)
WINCHESTER — You can’t paint Winchester BMR with too broad a brush: The place is chalk full of hardware, construction and home renovation materials, retail goods as well as a gift shop (Country Treasures).
It goes without saying that Ken and Trish Boje’s sprawling operation on County Rd. 31 is naturally tapped into the latest trends in paint. Starting last fall, the store has been hosting classes where participants roll up their sleeves and tackle a small project using the chalk-based paint varieties sold at Winchester BMR.
They carry the premium Colorantic brand — which has the most vibrant colours — as well as Rustoleum’s mainstream econo offering in the chalk-based segment. (Winchester BMR will demonstrate chalk-based painting at this Saturday’s Local Business Expo at the Joel Steele Community Centre; see more below.)
“We can tint the Colorantic, too, basically with anything, but the palette is more limited in the Rustoleum colours,” says Ken Boje, explaining a key difference between the brands.
The ability to put any tint into Colorantic paints — be they Sico, Benjamin Moore or others — was “one of the reasons we decided to take the product on,” says veteran store employee Joanne Cummings. “The colour choice is so extensive,” she says, also highlighting the 24 available pre-mixed Colorantic hues plus five metallic paints.
It’s also “much thicker and goes on like butter,” adds Cummings, who discovered the top-of-the-line product for Boje. Colorantic paint, it turns out, is made just up the road in Alexandria, by the local firm founded by Lancaster native Marianne Soucy.
The product “is in a number of BMR stores in Quebec, too,” says Boje, who looks forward to the upcoming chalk-based paint demos at the April 28 Expo in Winchester. “It will appeal,” he predicts. “This was kind of a natural. Hopefully, it will attract an audience.”
The store owner speaks with some confidence because interest in the paint type is high in today’s Pinterest world. The super-flat coating rejuvenates old, traditionally finished furniture with a “milk paint” look. It’s even applied right over upholstery.
Soucy herself will demonstrate the upholstery-painting technique at this Saturday’s Expo, according to Cummings. “In the other demo, she’s going to paint a piece of furniture.”
The Colorantic line is also noteworthy for coming in seven available sizes, including particularly small, smartly packaged 8-, 16- and 32-oz. jars and cans popular with crafters. They’re arrayed in a boutique-like, eye-grabbing display at Winchester BMR. The shelves of Colorantic units appear right at home just outside the entrance to the Country Treasures section.
Soucy’s company also offers four different types of wax, including a 100 percent beeswax for kitchen counters and butcher blocks, and those are carried by the Winchester store as well. Soucy herself will also take part in two demonstrations at this Saturday’s Expo, according to Cummings. “Painting upholstery will be one demo, and the other demo she’s going to paint a piece of furniture. But I think the upholstery aspect is quite new and exciting … so I think it will draw a lot of attention.”
Beyond the Expo, the store looks to resume its in-house painting sessions — possibly once a month — sometime in mid-May.
And while last fall’s inaugural workshops focused on painting wooden trays, they plan to put their guests’ skills to work on small planter boxes and wine boxes as next projects. “And again have a Colorantic rep here and turn it into a bit of an event,” she says, anticipating up to 25 people per class.
Boje hopes to bring other businesses aboard on those evenings as a “cross-promotional” opportunity, noting the workshops themselves are put on as a community service while “promoting what we do, and the product.”
The sessions have also proven to be more than mere educational opportunity for those taking part. “It’s more about the social aspect and then having a finished product, at the end of the day, to take home,” observes Cummings.
Chalk-based paint’s popularity corresponds with the trend of re-coating the natural wood grain of antique furniture and other wooden items to fit a modern decor. Boje suggests it’s also in line with a general appreciation of repurposing old things these days. His own untouched antique dining room set — complete with original Eaton’s sticker — will soon get the chalked-paint treatment, too.