Thriving During Uncertain Times

While the current economy is likely causing many retailers to pause expansion plans, Flanagan Paint & Supply is doing the opposite.

Key Takeaways

  • Six-store chain serves customers in Missouri and Illinois
  • Vice president Jay Donnelly is an industry leader, serving on NHPA’s board
  • Employees focus on building strong friendships with customers
``Our customer service keeps people coming back. We strive to be a familiar face that is knowledgeable so they want to come back and shop with us.``

- Jay Donnelly

Vice President

The six-store chain, based in Missouri and Illinois, continues to grow with vice president Jay Donnelly at the helm. As a member of the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s (NHPA) board and a former Young Retailer of the Year recipient, Donnelly is a great example of an innovative leader in the home improvement industry.

Flanagan Paint & Supply has been operating in St. Louis since 1950. In 2007, Donnelly’s father, Jim, purchased the business. By 2010, the father-son duo began working together and expanded to a second location in 2014.

Since 2020, Donnelly has grown his family business from two locations to six. He credits his employees for helping solidify the company’s reputation in the Greater St. Louis area.

“We encourage our employees to become friends with our customers,” Donnelly says. “Making friends is a crucial part of our business and it is how our team has continued to grow over the past couple of years.”

Additionally, Donnelly prefers his stores to have a smaller footprint, taking up about 1,600 square feet for a more intimate shopping experience. Store shelving is lower than average as well, allowing employees to quickly scan the salesfloor and see what customers may need and observe what is happening from the front counter.

“Our goal is to have smaller stores,”he says. “You don’t have to have a lot of people staffing them and with these shorter aisles, you can see every shopper that’s in the store,” he says.

While each location varies, they tend to serve more contractor customers but the stores are also a go-to for DIYers. According to Donnelly, contractors appreciate being able to stop by throughout the week to get the materials they know they can find.

“Our customer service keeps people coming back,” he says. “We strive to be a familiar face that is knowledgeable so they want to come back and shop with,” Jay says.