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From Contractors, Designers, Architects, And Homeowners, Benjamin Moore Is Known For Quality Paint And Coatings That Transform And Enhance With Bob Patinella



Nick Lopez and Bob Patinella talk about the founding of and leadership team that makes Benjamin Moore such an iconic brand. They also talk about the substantial R&D that Benjamin Moore has invested in for over a century. Benjamin Moore’s coatings are tried and tested across markets all over the world. From their unique and stunning colors to their long-lasting and durable finishes that enhance and transform spaces, Benjamin Moore is a trusted household name. Combine that with a luxury national painting and coatings company, and it makes for a special combination that consumers can benefit from, one brushstroke at a time. From the quality prep products that make up Benjamin Moore’s inventory to their incredible top coats that lay down easily with impeccable coverage and overall performance, Benjamin Moore’s innovative approach within the coatings industry provides LIME with products that are trusted for 100+ years. Nick and Bob dive into some new product rollouts that are changing the game for the coatings industry.


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From Contractors, Designers, Architects, And Homeowners, Benjamin Moore Is Known For Quality Paint And Coatings That Transform And Enhance With Bob Patinella

To inspire and transform – our homes, our communities, and our lives – one brushstroke at a time. 

I am pleased to have Bob Patinella from Benjamin Moore on the show. Bob, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me. It’s a true pleasure.

Would you mind sharing a little bit about Benjamin Moore and the products that you offer?

I'll start at the very beginning. Benjamin Moore was founded in 1883 by two brothers Robert and Benjamin Moore. We were founded on the value of creating quality products. We were fortunate enough to still live by that mantra. We've earned it, frankly. Over the decades, we've manufactured best-in-class products in every category. We're also highly invested in integrity as an organization. We believed in integrity from day one. That was a strong value of our company. That's something that continues and permeates our company to this very day.

What that means as it relates to how you treat people is Benjamin Moore, at every level with their employees, customers, vendors, and suppliers, we want to maintain a high level of integrity. It's one of the things that have been most constant in my experience with Benjamin Moore. I've been here for over 30 years. We sell two-step distribution. Our products are available only through locally owned independent retailers and hardware stores.



The reason we decided to do that was because we manufactured quality products that are only part of what people who purchase our product certain wants. They want a quality experience. Generally speaking, when you own a business, you can expect a higher level of service, the owners are more actively involved in selling their products and issues that may come along. That has worked well for us.

What we provide to the independent retailer and what we have provided historically resonate well. It brought us to the point where we are now. We were privately owned up until 2000, then we were purchased by the Berkshire Hathaway company in 2000. For those of you who don't know, Berkshire Hathaway is owned by Warren Buffett.

Warren valued a lot of the things that we were at the time. As a result, they kept everything in place. There haven't been any changes related to how we go to business. Don't expect that is going to change. In fact, he made a point of saying that it won't change, but all the values that were built on still continued today, even though we were acquired by a new company. We have been known throughout the years for the quality of manufactured products. We tried to maintain that standard over the years.



When you think about how products are evaluated, it may be split into application properties and dry film performance. Application properties are all the things that the applicator is concerned with. Does the product go on as a cover? Does it go on smoothly? Does it smell? Does it spatter? We try to manufacture best-in-class products related to those performance characteristics.

Dry film performance is what you leave your customer with or what the end result is. Characteristic is associated with dry film performance. It includes washability. Does it maintain its color? We have a leg up there because we use waterborne colorants in the vast majority of our products. Waterborne colorants are much more durable. They basically become part of the paint and are extremely better at color retention, especially on the exterior. That's a summary of Benjamin Moore and its evolution over the past 120 years or so.



Being here in Denver, we benefit from that color retention tremendously. We get a lot of sun here in the Southwest part of the country. Benjamin Moore clearly outperforms on the color retention side.

We continue to manufacture new products. Our laboratory is very active. Over the past couple of years, we have SCUFF-X. It is a product that's highly resistant to scuffing, as the name would indicate. Other products are marketed to be resistant to scuffing but SCUFF-X performs so much better. We have a new product coming out. It's called Command. It's a single-component waterborne urethane finish. It has great adhesion and more commercial and light industrial applications.

It is a single-component acrylic urethane that has solid adhesion. You can put this on a floor and within 24 hours, it’s dry. We're excited about the introduction of that product. We're constantly improving our products. We've made some changes to some of our products. We are excited about what the future holds relating to the products that we sell.



Our customers love SCUFF-X. It has been a practical recommendation. As the name implies, it helps minimize scuffing, especially in high-traffic areas like a mudroom or hallways. It has been an easy product for our VRCs or our Visual Reality Consultants. We recommend it to the homeowners that we work with, and it's a creative solution. You don't want to apply it throughout a whole house, but in the appropriate rooms, it's very neat.

It's great for commercial applications. In fact, it was tested at a clothing store in Manhattan. This clothing store was very highly trafficked. They used to repaint fitting rooms often like once a week because of all the scuffs that result from all the activities. We tested SCUFF-X. After six months, not once that they have to be repainted. It's a great product. It's a winner.

Would you say it is an innovative product?

Without question, it's a very unique resin. We do manufacture many of our own resins. That's a little bit unusual for the paint industry. We have some unique resins. We always had them. It's still in our line. MoorGard and MoorGlo formulas are elegant modified acrylics. When those came out, no one had that type of technology. You get the best of both worlds. You get the benefits of color retention for acrylic. Those are both exterior products, and the benefits of oil in terms of penetration over moderately prepared surfaces, dust, and dirt. Those products are still very popular. MoorGard, MoorGlo, more life.



You were sharing with me a product and I'm blanking on the name. It might be a newer product coming out. Is it a peel-bonding primer or a version of it?

That product is currently in test. It's done in Florida, but we expect to have the distribution of that product out in the early part of the first quarter of 2024. We'll keep you updated on its availability. I love to get it in some of your franchisees' hands to test it for us and get their opinions.

Our four pillars are quality products, customers, results, and lasting impressions. In painting, it's all in the prep. It's not just quality prep, it's also quality prep products. Having that kill bond solution is going to be tremendous. We're most certainly going to recommend it to our homeowners, especially for surfaces that have been weathered. They're exposed to the elements. They turn over. The product fails, and that substrate is exposed. As a result, it's not an ideal profile for anything adhering.

Going back to quality prep and quality products in the coating space, it's all about creating an ideal profile for adhesion, or in layman’s terms, prep. That's twofold. It's the prep and the quality of the prep product. With a surface that needs to be restored, it's not ideal having something like glue or an adhesive primer that is specifically focused on re-adhering, being a band-aid, or an adhesive there to create that ideal profile. Now when we apply a top coat or a profile that’s ideal for a product, I love to nerd out on coating. Most certainly, I'm excited for you guys to come out with that product.

Surface preparation is the most important part of the job. I always like to use this example because you mentioned profile. If you apply a sheet to a mirror and then apply a sheet to a piece of sandpaper, what's going to adhere better? It's simple. You want to establish their profile. We do manufacture specialty products too. This would be one of them. Because we sell through independents only, one of the things where we have an advantage is that's a stable platform from which to operate.

Surface preparation is probably the most important part of the job.

What I mean by that is the tenure of individuals within our retailers is long-term. They built up this huge amount of knowledge throughout the year. The same is true of our sales force. I mentioned how good of a company Benjamin Moore is to work with. We tend to stay at Benjamin Moore. People tend to stay at Benjamin Moore. The benefit of that is you build up all this experience, and all that extra is available to our end users. Whether it's a question over the phone, a job site visit, you have a technical issue, or a question, consider us your partners because we are.

You don't buy a gallon from us unless we solve an issue for you. We want you to be able to rely on us. We know that's part of what you expect. It's part of our value proposition. You buy a gallon of paint. If you look at two gallons of paint from us versus a competitor, it goes beyond the price of that product. What other value can we provide you as a painter? The advice, quick response product with better dry film performance, and better performance attributes all around our desire to help you with things not related to painting to help make a stronger business.

If you look at a gallon of our paint compared to the competitor, it goes beyond the price of that product. What other value can we provide you?

All that stuff adds to the value of what we provide. We value relationships immensely. We have a lot of strong relationships within the industry. We understand our retailers are a huge part of that. A lot of contractors love walking into the retail stores, saying hello to the guys behind the counter, and having a cup of coffee and doughnut. It is a ritual old school that way. For those who don't and just want to get in and out, there's that too.

We've greatly benefited from your partnership with Guiry's, the local retailer here in Denver. The Guiry family has done a tremendous job of partnering with us and ultimately distributing your product. I can see firsthand how Benjamin Moore is intentional about the type of owner you partner with and most importantly, aligning with your values. You're talking about integrity, our VRCs had worked with the Guiry family in their home. We're based in Greenwood Village. It’s the same city. Firsthand, having experience working on both sides with the family from a business standpoint, serving them, and also them serving us. What a unique model is partnering with other business owners that are local in their community.

Benjamin Moore is intentional about the type of owners that they partner with.

Benjamin Moore recognizes that the synergy between our retailers and end users is extremely important. We rely on the retailer and the contractor for input in important decisions. They contribute to that. I remember Guiry’s played a key role in Benjamin Moore coming out with those little color sample jars that we had. They got some great ideas. Contractors as well are getting input on products and product performance. They are directly responsible for us coming out with new products. It's our way of trying to be more market-driven. It's necessary for us to be successful to be market-driven. We got to listen to what the customer is asking.



That’s innovation and adapting. Not every company the size and credibility of Benjamin Moore would take that approach. That's awesome.

It’s necessary and we’ll continue with two owners in our 130 years of existence. We're stable on our end too and we keep growing. We're fortunate enough to be in a position where we do continue to grow. Our footprint continues to expand. We have more outlets this year than we did at any time in our history. We sold more paint this year than at any time in our history. We've been very fortunate.

We've been in the middle of a pandemic. The fact that you say that is an incredible statement.

We've been fortunate, knock-on-wood. I don't think that we've been hit as hard as some of our competitors have been with supply issues. That certainly has helped. Even without that, there's a great demand for our products.

I personally started my career in 2008 and 2009, during The Great Recession. I remember the paint space being pretty consistent through that economic recession. It is most certainly a recession-resistant industry.

The industry doesn't grow like other industries. It's a relatively mature industry. When you're growing, you're taking market share from somebody generally speaking. It's certainly true of the segment that you're in. I'm sure that the pie is increased, but your rapid growth is not just the result of the pie increase. You're taking business from people that might otherwise get it. They're contractors.



At the core of that, it’s providing clients with a great option in the market. Our niche is custom properties and using high-grade products, much like Benjamin Moore. We’re providing a tremendous amount of expertise. In our space, it's simple. It’s showing up, doing a good job, and answering our phones. We are doing that for custom property owners and providing them a lot of value for their property beyond just paint.

We look at a property and all of its substrates is needing to be restored. How are we applying a coating system to each surface to protect it and make sure that the surface is not depreciating and losing value? For the properties that we work for, each surface is very expensive. That depreciation can be significant. We partner with our customers to provide them with upfront expertise on what's the right way to transform and help hedge when you’re highest valued assets. As a result, clients ultimately have options in the market.


There is a selling process you would go through to discover what your customers' needs are. It's a curriculum we also taught to contractors. Not mentioning at all, Benjamin Moore in the process, here's the process that you go through to discover what your customers' needs are, and match those needs to what you can provide them, which is what you're talking about.

It's a fundamental Business 101. It's how we are communicating to our clients about how we can help them out, and then how we deliver on that, get fancy calling systems, processes, and everything else. That clearly creates a consistent result. Ultimately, that's a franchise or a process that is worked out to create an experience for the customer that was consistent and reliable. It's basic. It's showing up, answering our phone, and doing a good job.