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Old 04-26-2014, 09:35 AM   #1
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Default Ace Paint Studio and partner with Valspar

Ok so after working in the paint stores for almost 20 years and painting as a professional contractor for almost as long, I am now working for Ace Hardware in Harleysville PA as their Commercial Account Specialist.... Yes we are going to have contractor accounts and a discount structure just like a paint store!!! So I had been using Ben Moore almost exclusively until I tried Clark and Kensington, Aspire and Optimus.... Here's my run down of the products for what it's worth... Clark and Kensington has outstanding flow and leveling. You do have to be careful how you put it on, since it will tend to sag if put on too heavy, but I have no problem dealing with that. It loves the brush, unlike all of Ben Moore's Genex products that do not brush well in my opinion. C&K also seems to have more open time. To me it's almost like Regal and way better than Ben! Aspire is Regal Select but better. Optimus is close to Aura but not as touchy. So if you look at how these products perform, at the price they sell for it's a win win!
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:05 AM   #2
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So does Valspar own C&K? I thought Aspire and Optimus were Valspar lines. Are they still being sold as C&K?

I've always thought Valspar made some pretty good products (outside of Lowes) looking forward to giving these new lines a try.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:05 AM   #3
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C&K is really grainy, hide is pretty good, spread rare is average.

Aspire is decent paint, not better than several others in that price range.

Optimus really good paint, wouldn't compare it with Aura simply because it doesn't have 450+ square foot spread rate. This is one thing about Aura that most people don't consider when figuring their material costs. Yes it is $55/gallon but you get a lot more out of that gallon, and in the right situations it saves a ton of money.

I have tried my best to work with our local Ace but the owner hasn't been willing to do any serious discounted volume pricing. He has told me on several occasions his prices aren't any better than our volume pricing for SWP or BM. So 10% and Ace rewards is all I have been offered, and to be honest if I need more than a few gallons I will drive to a real paint store.
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:54 PM   #4
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Yes Valspar bought Ace manufacturing and produces C&K now. Yeah Ace are coops but there is a corporate BtoB push so I foresee all Aces going to discount structures for contractors. Many in PA are already doing this. 10% plus your ace rewards is a great deal when you consider the retail price of the product and what you are getting for the money!
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:16 PM   #5
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Good point with the Aura, but it is "tricky" to work with for most. It will save you a ton in time, materials and labor in the right situation...
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by servais1 View Post
Yes Valspar bought Ace manufacturing and produces C&K now. Yeah Ace are coops but there is a corporate BtoB push so I foresee all Aces going to discount structures for contractors. Many in PA are already doing this. 10% plus your ace rewards is a great deal when you consider the retail price of the product and what you are getting for the money!
Maybe for someone who buys 100 gals or less a year. I am small contractor and we spent bout 70k last year on paint. If they are serious about getting contractor sales they will have to get serious on volume discounts.
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by servais1 View Post
Ok so after working in the paint stores for almost 20 years and painting as a professional contractor for almost as long, I am now working for Ace Hardware in Harleysville PA as their Commercial Account Specialist.... Yes we are going to have contractor accounts and a discount structure just like a paint store!!! So I had been using Ben Moore almost exclusively until I tried Clark and Kensington, Aspire and Optimus.... Here's my run down of the products for what it's worth... Clark and Kensington has outstanding flow and leveling. You do have to be careful how you put it on, since it will tend to sag if put on too heavy, but I have no problem dealing with that. It loves the brush, unlike all of Ben Moore's Genex products that do not brush well in my opinion. C&K also seems to have more open time. To me it's almost like Regal and way better than Ben! Aspire is Regal Select but better. Optimus is close to Aura but not as touchy. So if you look at how these products perform, at the price they sell for it's a win win!
Will the C and K, and the Ace Royal products be the same as in the past or will formulations change since Valspar is manufacturing them now?
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:20 PM   #8
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As far as a % volume solids goes, the Aspire has a higher solid % than Regal Select and Optimus has a tiny bit less % solids than Aura.

Optimus "Opticolor" technology is the same as Aura's "colorlock". Benzophenone is added as a UV protectant to prevent color fading years down the road. C+K paints also contain benzophenone UV protectant, but the Aspire does not.

Optimus allegedly finishes to a super smooth texture, like Aura, they claim. Aspire supposedly has some self-leveling properties which can help to hide brush/roller marks with less experienced diy painters.

Optimus and Aspire are both extremely durable and DO NOT burnish, even in flat finishes. I've seen painted surfaces scrubbed with 409 and brillo, removing lipstick and chalk, with zero negative effects on the paint sheen.


Valspar has been making C+K paint for the past year. They haven't changed anything and still follow Ace's formulas, they just own the facilities.



Expect to see/hear advertisements everywhere starting in May.
There is also a BOGO free paint sale on C+K and Optimus paints the weekend of May 17.
Not to mention the Valspar color guarantee replacing up to 2 gallons per year if you don't like the color, even if it's a BM or SW color.
Check out my previous thread about it here...sorry to plug again
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:50 PM   #9
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As far as I know the products will stay the same...
As for volume discounts an Ace giving a 10 percent discount leaves them making only 15%... Costs are tight!
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:06 AM   #10
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Valspar in recent history has killed paint lines. Specifically Cabot Stains. Great New England company 10+ years back, valspar bought em out, went into lowes and to me that was the beginning of the end. They're closing down the newburyport plant and producing out of the old Ace plant. Small paint / hardware stores stopped stocking Cabot and lowes recently threw it out (at least around here) and now they seem to be scrambling to get into smaller stores again.
I have dropped all but the solid stains, and only have those because
1) I have an older clientele who wants that yellow can.
2) They are one of a few who bring solid oil stains to the table in Mass.

I remember seeing a Cabot rep in the store a few times each year and offered training to store employees when needed. That was about 10-12 years ago.

Every week I am matching cabot colors into Storm System Stain and a big part of that is because my customers like to hear it's produced 20 mins away in Mass. They have a full time R+D crew working everyday and test/formulate new products and to keep ahead of changing VOC laws. And an added benefit to me is getting to say "I can have a hundred gallons of that for you later today from my warehouse."

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