by Nat Frothingham
MONTPELIER — Three big changes are coming to the True Colors Home Decorating Center at 141 River Street.
First change: After 25 years of selling paint and paint products, True Colors will stop selling paint in less than two weeks on Tuesday, December 1.
“What? Stop selling paint?” I asked with astonishment. “Are you going to stop doing paint?”
Store owner Bill McQuiggan replied, “Yes, that’s major — after 25 years.”
What’s happening is this — after 25 years, True Colors is changing from a paint store to a window treatment and flooring design center.
Expanding on the decision to stop selling paint, McQuiggan said, “We sell a lot of blinds and flooring.” And though he has enjoyed selling paint, paint has its problems. You have to carry a lot of inventory. And you have to have a paint expert on staff to help customers on both sides of the paint equation.
More about the paint equation in a moment. But here’s a second big change at True Color that’s coming fast. In mid-December, Kath Natze who knows paint inside and out will be retiring and leaving True Colors after a run of almost 20 years. And she’s leaving with highest honors.
“It was a really hard decision,” said McQuiggan about his decision to stop selling paint. “I think the hardest thing is that Kath is going to be leaving.”
Natze — the store’s resident paint expert — had both sides of the paint equation absolutely “nailed.”
She knew about paint matching and paint mixing. She wasn’t bothered by the sometimes messy practical details of handling and mixing paint. She was also excellent at the home decorating part of the paint equation — helping customers choose the colors they wanted, advising customers who had decorating questions.
With Kath leaving the business will concentrate on blinds and flooring and that’s the third and final change.
Turning to the question of window treatment and the installation of blinds, McQuiggan said, “We sell a lot of blinds and flooring. I measure — I do the estimating.” Then along comes another True Colors employee, Jordan Bushey, who installs the blinds.
The new name of True Colors — “True Colors Blinds and Design” — reflects the changes. Said McQuiggan, “We’re the only business in central Vermont that measures, installs and repair blinds.”
That total service commitment has worked well for True Colors. “We’re all over the map,” said McQuiggan with customers as far afield as Derby, Grand Isle, Jeffersonville and Boltonville to the north and west and with a strong customer base in the Mad River Valley as well.
Going on right now through November 29, True Colors is selling off the balance of its paint at a 30 percent discount off normal retail prices. Paint brands include such familiar names as Benjamin Moore, California, Vermont Naturals and Cabot Paint. True Colors will also be selling off the balance of its paint sundry products such as paint brushes and the like and these items are being offered at a 40 percent discount.
Finally, and this is important, True Colors is circulating a wide-open invitation to all of its friends and customers to come down to the store and say goodbye to Kath Natze before she leaves the store.
That party is set for Saturday afternoon, December 5 from 1 to 4 p.m. at True Colors and will include hors d’oeuvres and libations.