By David Hood, Induron CEO
In the early 1960s, Indurall (now known as Induron) stores were updated from just painter-oriented stores to more retail-friendly decorating centers. The original idea came from my dad, William Hood, who was also one of the founders of Induron. He wanted to differentiate our company from the approximately 1,100 other paint companies around the country. I can remember that there were at least 10 in Alabama alone.
The concept was to sell not only paint, but also wallpaper, rugs, carpet, window treatments, bed coverings and even furniture and garden accessories. These were called lifestyle enhancements rather than just “paint and things.” Each store had a decorator on staff who would make “house calls” to offer color and coordination advice and suggest other decorating items appropriate to that customer.
We also had a van, a Volkswagen Type 2 Splitscreen Microbus, which was both a travel vehicle for the decorator and a delivery vehicle for samples and goods. With its brightly painted logo, it provided pretty good local advertising too. The store and van pictured in this old photograph were actually located in Montgomery, Alabama. There were others in Birmingham, Mobile, Pensacola and Jackson.
The concept was very popular and well received. Over the years it has been copied widely, but for Induron it proved too costly for economic success. Everybody wanted the service, but most were unwilling (or unable) to pay what it cost. A fair number of husbands cancelled jobs in progress when they saw the cost, leaving us with unsellable, custom inventory!
So the concept was abandoned by about 1974, and ultimately we sold all of our stores in 1995.
My guess is that there are only 100 sustainable paint companies left in our country. Induron is always looking for new and inventive ideas and ways of doing things, but we’re still here, in part because we returned to our “roots” of paint manufacturing. By doing so, we’re able to find real needs and satisfy them with reliable protection through innovative coatings.