Pioneering the Paint and Sip IndustryCraig Ceccanti
Pioneering the paint and sip industry has been such an honor and has brought Pinot’s Palette so many “firsts”. Looking back over the years to 2009, it has been an absolute thrill to not only be able to grow an incredible brand with so many extraordinary entrepreneurs but to lead the charge in pioneering the paint and sip industry. Growing a national brand has its challenges but shaping an industry will really test your team’s ability to strategize, execute, and adapt. Setting the gold standard in the paint and sip industry of customer service and entertainment value has tested Pinot’s Palette franchise headquarters and our hundreds of paint and sip franchise partners. This article was originally written for our quarterly system newsletter “The Canvas”, but I thought it would be helpful to those looking to join the team to understand our history of innovation and trailblazing as we continue to lead the paint and sip industry.
TOP 10 Pinot’s Palette Milestones Pioneering the Paint and Sip Industry
1 – First Pinot’s Palette Paint and Sip Class – May 2009
A day Charles, Beth, and I will never forget. After many grueling months of “inventing the wheel” the team was excited to finally share our new business creation with our friends and family. We set out to build the fun night out that we would enjoy and had no idea about the potential to touch people’s lives.
2 – First Franchise Partner – November 2010
I will never forget that persistent couple, Kerry and Alan, requesting to open their own Pinot’s Palette in Katy, TX. It took almost 9 months for us to be prepared enough to say yes and we are so glad we did. With five kids and heavily involved in the community we still do not understand how they did it.
3 – First Franchise Opening – December 2010
Along with our second location, Galleria, we opened our very first partner owned location in Katy, TX. Still remaining the fasted opening in eight weeks, the Bernard’s have always been hard chargers and they still remember our “boot camp” huddled around a laptop on a folding table. True pioneers with a lot of trust that we would grow the brand in a direction they would be proud of.
4 – First Employee – June 2011 (picture of Mari putting together her own chair)
Charles and I are big on identifying weaknesses and improving them. We knew we were weak in marketing and it must be our first hire. Boy did we luck out. Mari Sokolowski graced our presence attempting to sell us advertisements in a local digital newsletter. I quickly saw her potential and asked if she knew anyone interested in joining our marketing team. It didn’t take long for her to read between the lines. During the interview process Mari already had new ideas and plans developed and there was no looking back. Mari has been instrumental in the growth of Pinot’s Palette in every way imaginable.
5 – First Paint and Sip Industry Bar Location – March 2012 (picture of Lisa’s opening, picture of the three of us)
Oklahoma doesn’t do BYOB?!!!! Not a problem for entrepreneurs like Lisa and Ben Riley. The POS was developed in a flurry and finished at the Panera Bread across the street from the Cherry Street location. Lisa and Ben were true trail blazers to take on the task of figuring out how to run a bar and have taught us so much about what we should be looking for in a Pinot’s Palette franchise partner.
6 – First Paint and Sip Industry Annual Retreat – February 2013 (picture)
After three years and adding so many dynamic franchise partners to the team we knew it was time to get everyone in one room and really let the sparks fly. Collaboration is a big part of our values and catalyst to innovation. The first retreat was in a very small room in a downtown hotel in Houston but it was big with ideas and potential from our OG franchise partners.
7 – 100th Location to Sign – January 2015 (not sure we have picture)
A monumental milestone for any retail chain; Princeton NJ with Michael and Kathleen Walters were number 100 to join the team. It has always been our mission to bring franchise partners on the team that give as much as they take from the system, we reflect on the first 100 and are confident we have put together an extremely passionate and innovative group to set the foundation for the Pinot’s Palette culture.
8 – 1 Million Customers Reached – October 2015 (insert picture)
Starting in May of 2009, we had no idea the impact Pinot’s Palette could have on people’s lives. Pinot’s Palette has helped people through cancer treatment, rekindled relationships, introduced new friends, and made business teams productive. Kevin Cochran attended Pinot’s Palette Tustin, owned by Cherisse and Scott Lockerd, in October to be our 1 millionth customer. With our first class of 25 guests, we never fathomed that 1 million Pinot’s Palette paintings would be decorating the kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and offices of so many fans. This is enough paintings to cover all 31 NFL football fields and 30 NBA stadiums with canvas left over to outfit the players.
9 – 100 Studios Open – July 2016 (insert picture)
It was emotional attending the 100th studio opening celebration in West Loop, Chicago with Katie Roche. The perfect place to hold a historic event for our brand. This community truly reflects the essence of Pinot’s Palette with support from the local museums and art schools. This monumental event reminded me of our first opening in Montrose, TX. West Loop was also the first location I had experienced with the full outfit of our new Pinot’s Palette brand. I’m so proud of the team’s hard work to think through all the fine details that mattered.
10 – First Paint and Sip Industry International Location Open – July 2016 (picture of us signing docs)
Taking our concept out of the U.S. is an epic event and an ever bigger challenge. We knew Chad and Christena Smith would be up for it as they had proven themselves as multi-unit owners in the U.S. With Christena being native to Toronto, comes with a lot of knowledge of the market, and we are overjoyed to open our first international studio in Toronto, Canada.
This top ten list is really just some of the amazing things the Pinot’s Palette team has been able to accomplish over our first five years building the paint and sip franchise industry. The team is bigger and stronger than ever and I am truly excited about what the top ten list will look like in another five years. Feel free to reach out to me with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or request more information about our paint and sip franchise here.