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Graffiti artist George Thompson creates an art piece for McGuckin Hardware in Boulder, Colorado, while demonstrating to customers the unlimited uses for Ironlak spray paint.

McGuckin Hardware Promotes Spray Paint and Art

McGuckin Hardware tried a unique way to promote product: find a graffiti artist, give him paint and plywood and invite the community to watch what happens.

The Boulder, Colorado, store started carrying Ironlak spray paint within the past year. Having an artist demonstrate how to use the paint was an idea marketing manager Louise Garrels and the store paint buyer worked on together.

The goal was to broaden customers’ perceptions of how spray paint can be used.

“The sky’s the limit. You pick your canvas and figure out what your medium’s going to be,” Garrels says.

Finding a graffiti artist was the hard part, but when Ironlak hired California painter George Thompson to attend a nearby art trade show, the team at McGuckin Hardware asked for some of his time. And Ironlak gave it for free; McGuckin just provided plywood and paint.

Thompson spent four hours painting a bold graffiti art piece on plywood for the store, and McGuckin Hardware invited area artists and customers to watch the process.

“We thought it would be really cool and edgy to promote street art,” Garrels says.

Thompson’s work did grab attention, and about 25 percent of the people who came to the store while he was painting did so just to see him, she says. The average customer hung around for 10 or 15 minutes to watch, and at least one visitor stayed for all four hours, she says.

“People were just impressed,” she says.

The store will hang the art piece in its paint department.

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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