WE ARE CELEBRATING our 50th year at Modesto Color Center. Back in 1973, a few gentlemen from New York settled in the heart of California. The city didn’t have a good paint store, so they started one.
In 2002, the business went up for sale. My dad and I knew paint, and we knew retail—my dad was (and still is!) a painting contractor, and I had worked for a couple years at a paint store. So we took a leap and bought the business!
We turned Modesto Color Center into a family enterprise. I took over most retail operations; my mom ran the wallpaper department; and my dad and two brothers managed the paint contracting business. A couple years ago, my wife Erin joined us as well. She brought expertise from a career at Costco. Plus, it’s just so fun working on something you love with your best friend.
Throughout my 21 years running Modesto Color Center, experimentation has been key to our success.
For example, although Benjamin Moore has always comprised a big part of our business, we have flexed in and out of product lines as opportunities arise. We were big sellers of traffic paint as we developed relationships with the relevant contractors. We sold industrial coatings as Modesto’s economy changed. And very recently, as California’s volatile organic compound (VOC) laws have become more strict, we have had phenomenal success with water-based lacquers like Gemini Evo and an Italian lacquer called Renner.
This experimentation has helped tremendously: we have grown the business from $700k in revenue to nearly $4 million.
So last year, when Joe & Nick from Rundoo walked into our store, I was curious. Their vision was to build better technology for paint stores, a vision that started with a web-based point of sale. In 2008, we switched from a DOS system to a Windows cloud system, and it was life-changing.
Switching from a Windows cloud system to a Web system was clearly the next step and could be just as life changing.I signed up for Rundoo because I want us to be ahead of the curve. Now that I’ve been using it for some time, I’ll tell you three ways it has improved our business: (1) cash flow, (2) more security, and (3) employee onboarding.
First, security. Many of our customers want to keep a credit card on file. I was always very nervous to do that in our old system. I know of a nearby store that got hacked and had to pay ransomware—what if we got hacked too? With Rundoo, we can save cards on file, and they are fully encrypted and off our servers. That means we get the convenience of saved cards without risking the safety of our customers’ data.
I’ll tell you three ways it has improved our business:
1) cash flow
3) employee training
Second, cash flows. Rundoo makes it incredibly easy for contractors to pay us. We can send them statements via email, and they can pay any invoice at the click of a button.
Making it easy for customers to pay makes it more likely you’ll get paid. We are already seeing an improvement in cash flow.
Third, employee onboarding. New employees learn how to use Rundoo SUPER fast. We’re talking a matter of hours not weeks. You don’t need a user manual. The software is intuitive, and things just are where you expect them to be. Employees don’t even have to memorize SKUs! They can find products by searching.
The whole crew at Rundoo is awesome. We have gotten to know them over the past year and seen our shared commitment to building great businesses. They believe that when we succeed, they succeed—it’s a win-win. So they are always asking what new features would help us; taking our feedback to heart; and building, tweaking, and refining quickly. It’s not just us, but all their clients. There is this community aspect, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
At the end of the day, Modesto Color Center's success has been a combination of dedicated employees who love what they do, loyal customers who keep coming back, and vendors like Rundoo that wholeheartedly care about us.