Colour them happy

The Painted Crate, Cranbrook's new Benjamin Moore paint outlet, fills a creative void

Owners of the Painted Crate standing side by side

Co-owners of The Painted Crate, the recently opened Benjamin Moore paint outlet in Cranbrook, are Barb Stevenson (L) and Jan Stone. They welcome local artists and do-it-yourself painters to the store on the Strip. — Marie Milner photo

Art meets business at The Painted Crate, a recently opened store in Cranbrook that is also the city's new Benjamin Moore paint outlet. You can find the shop on the Strip, next door to Millennium Movies & Games in the former Blockbuster Video location. Kootenay Business caught up with co-owners Barb Stevenson and Jan Stone for a chat about their new venture.

What made you decide to go into this particular business?

We both have a background in paint, Barb in retail and Jan in contract painting. We felt that even though there were many paint stores in Cranbrook, there was still a creative void that we would like to attempt to fill.

What products/services does The Painted Crate offer?

The Painted Crate offers high-quality, environmentally friendly paint products for the do-it-yourself enthusiast, as well as local paint contractors. We offer amazing products starting at all price points in order to meet the needs of anyone walking through our doors. As well, we are offering DIY classes starting November 20 and continuing throughout the winter, with home colour consultations coming in the near future.

Tell us a bit about your past lives—what did you do before opening The Painted Crate?

Barb: I have a degree in education, which I was working on when I worked for Sutherland's Decorating. During this time I was able to gain invaluable product knowledge from the previous owner, John Sutherland. Since that time, I was a teacher on call and raising my two young boys.

Jan: I have done various jobs in the community while raising my three young children, the latest being the Downtown Business Association's street fair co-ordinator.

What is your association with Benjamin Moore Paint, and how did that come about?

Jan: Two years ago, I was looking for Benjamin Moore paint and didn't realize that the old store was not in business anymore. I called the Benjamin Moore head office to try to find out where to get more paint. The conversation ended with the comment, "Well, maybe you should open a store." I told them to be careful what they ask for, as I might just do that. To make a long story short, after chatting with Barb a few times, we felt that even though the learning curve would be straight uphill, we would like to give it a try.

Do you carry artists' supplies?

At this point, we are just displaying art by local artists. Who knows where that might end up?

What involvement do you plan to have in the local art community?

We would love to host gala events and have opened up our wall space for local artists to display their art. We look forward to showing our customers how to pull together a room with colour inspired by the art on their wall.

Do you have any more details about your planned do-it-yourself classes?

We are working on some exciting ideas for our DIY nights. These will range from painting techniques to hands-on projects.

Are you from Cranbrook originally, or elsewhere?

Jan: I have moved all over B.C. and settled in Cranbrook 13 years ago with the intent to raise our family and be involved in our community.

Barb: I grew up in Nelson and moved to Cranbrook 10 years ago to complete my bachelor of education and fell in love with Cranbrook and the surrounding area.

Who inspires you?

We have both been inspired by our local community, our friends and all of the amazing creative minds on the Internet.

What was your first job, and what did  you learn from it?

Barb: My first job was waitressing—I learned that I'm not a very good waitress! From other jobs, I learned that I enjoy helping people, teaching children and, of course, playing around with paint and colour.

Jan: My first job was at McDonald's. This was a fantastic learning experience in how to deal with customers, problem solving and basic management skills. With many other jobs over the years, including palliative care, I am able to bring well-rounded life experience to this job.

Do you have a favourite motivational quote?

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." —Marilyn Monroe

What do you like to do in your downtime?

Jan: We have both forgotten what downtime is!

Barb: (Time permitting) I enjoy baking, sewing, running and hanging out with my kids.

Where do you hope the business will be five years from now?

We hope the business will be embraced by our community in the years to come and look forward to meeting past and new customers.

Tell us something that most people wouldn't know about you.

Jan: Something many folks don't know about me is that I took two years of mechanics in high school and know how to change the oil on the car (but I haven't let my husband in on that little secret!).

Barb: I have an uncanny ability to retain information—an amazing amount of information.

Sandra Albers

Since 2007, Sandra has enjoyed hearing about new businesses, expanding businesses and unique businesses, as well as learning more about the long-time successes in the business community of the Kootenays. She writes, as well as copy edits and proofreads, for both magazine and website, and welcomes input from our readers. View all of Sandra Albers’s articles

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