Verda Paints Ltd.
Verda Paints Ltd. (Verda) has experienced tremendous growth over the last six years. However, even amid record expansion, the Ontario-based paint manufacturer and supplier has not lost sight of family ownership and responsive, familiar service. “Our products are competitive, but everyone has a good product at the end of the day,” shares Brent Zanussi, general manager of Verda. “The major difference with Verda is we’ve kept a close-knit, family feel. We know all of our customers on a first-name basis.”
Quality Control Equals Rapid Expansion
The Verda tradition began in 2007 with Tony Petratos, founder and owner of Verda, and his desire for improvement. “I’m a painter by trade and I’ve been doing it since 1974,” reveals Tony. “I noticed the inconsistency in the quality of paint I was receiving. It was good one day and not-so-good the next, so knowing what a painter really needs, I decided to start making my own.”
Tony’s original painting company frequently purchased a large-scale amount of paint from a manufacturer for subdivision work. “The manufacturer eventually reached out to him and asked if they could ship directly to the company to lower the overhead costs,” recalls Brent. “Tony came back with a better idea to open his own paint store and manufacture private label products and we slowly began developing product lines. One product grew into two, two into three and so on.”
As Verda expanded, so did the company’s clientele. “We began selling to others in similar outfits, from subcontractors to builders and new homeowners,” adds Brent. “Today, we manufacture 100 percent of our products on premise to control quality.”
With a high-quality product line and a range of customers Verda continued to expand from a geographical perspective. “We opened our first retail outlet in Toronto to accommodate customers’ needs and retain more business,” notes Brent. “Barrie, Concord and Woodbridge, Ontario, followed suit. We now have four retail locations and a manufacturing and distribution center in Woodbridge. Needless to say, things have really taken off since 2010.”
Where Everyone Knows Your Name
Brent, who’s been with Verda since 2010, says it’s the company’s relationships with customers that truly make for great success. “We have the Cheers feel,” he jokes. “We know our customers by name and we bend over backward to serve them the very best we can.”
It is evident that Brent and the team truly care about the product Verda delivers. “We care about each and every account, from the one-gallon home painter to the few hundred pails a day commercial contractor; they are all important to us,” he continues. “We’ll rush orders to accommodate our customers and we usually know exactly what colors and products they might want.”
Brent learned to successfully serve customers and manage Verda when he first came on-board four years ago. “I joined the company as an administrator, doing office management and general operations work,” he recalls. “I was lucky to be groomed for this position by Rino Mazzuca, who was one of the best general managers in our industry. But when our original general manager passed away suddenly in 2011, it was sink or swim for me. It was a blessing that I had received all of my training, because we have a lot of custom systems we use here, but I was able to step up to the plate. It’s been a challenging, yet rewarding several years.”
“Another factor to our success is being all about no gimmicks,” adds Chris Petratos, co-owner of Verda. “For Verda, primer means primer and top coats are top coats; we don’t want our customers buying primer at top coat pricing.”
An Exciting Future
With a well-established reputation and new talent, Verda now serves some of the largest corporations in Canada. “We sell all types of paints thinking of the environment first, offering a variety of finish coats, primers and specialty products like our Verda Green Home Zero VOC,” shares Brent. “This green product is perfect for interior walls and ceilings because it contains no lead or mercury, its low odor, easy to apply and easy to remove if there’s a spill. This product could be trusted in a child’s nursery, because it’s one of the safest paints on the market.”
Verda is always looking for exciting, innovative products and Brent says there’s plenty more to come in the near future. “Stay tuned, there’s sure to be some new, game-changing products in the works,” he reveals.
Brent ensures the team remains positive. “We want everything to be positive; not even a sluggish economy can stop Verda’s momentum,” he says proudly. “About 75 percent of our business is the new home market, and even though residential development slowed down, people who already were under contract were still painting.”
Brent goes on to note that what Verda offers is timeless. “Furthermore, during these hard times the cheapest and easiest way to renovate your home is through paint,” he continues. “It’s cost-effective and quite dramatic; we foster new business with this principle amongst others. It gave us more motivation to open new locations to help accommodate our homeowner clientele. The downturn made acquiring new business a little slow, but it seems to be stabilizing and there’s a definite potential for more locations and additional expansion in the cards.”
“We want to be exactly what our competition is not; a small name and smaller prices with huge value and quality, as well as an extreme level of service and knowledge,” Chris says proudly.
As Verda turns 7 years old, the company continues to focus on service with a familiar face and a willingness to serve customers like no other. Verda Paints Ltd. is the place where everyone knows your name.