Adding Color for Over 40 Years to the Lowcountry
Established in 1979, Peters Paint & Wallcovering is one of the oldest and largest commercial painting contractors in the Charleston, SC area. Specializing in interior and exterior painting, the company’s services include: conventional coating, drywall finishing, textured coating systems, stains, waterproofing finishes, architectural finishes, steel structure finishes, power cleaning and wall covering installations. Today, Peters Paint serves a variety of industries including office, retail, commercial, medical, financial, restoration, educational, hospitality, real estate development and governmental agencies.
Wallpaper to paint…a Brief History
In the mid-1960s, Ben Peters began a small part-time wallpaper hanging business from his West Ashley, SC home. The owner of Peters Brick, Peters was already considered an icon in the local construction industry where he’d earned a reputation for his outstanding customer service and strong work ethic.
The early 1970s saw a re-emergence of a wall covering trend in interior design that outpaced even that seen during the wallpaper heyday of the 1940s. As a result, Peters’ home-based business grew by leaps and bounds. Peters often employed his son, Tommy, along with Tommy’s long-time friend, Michael O’Neal, as apprentices while the two young men attended college.
As his graduation from the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy approached, Tommy Peters began reevaluating his career options. With the entrepreneurial lifestyle of his father in his blood, coupled with the shift from family-owned to large corporate-owned pharmacies that was unfolding at the time, Peters tucked his newly-earned pharmacist degree into a drawer and followed in his father’s footsteps.
In the spring of 1979, Tommy Peters and Michael O’Neal entered into a partnership to formally establish Peters Wallcovering based on the “Mom and Pop” business model established by Ben Peters. With two employees and a long list of satisfied residential customers in hand, the partners began laying the foundation for their fledgling wall covering business based on the high standards they’d learned as apprentices.
Peters Wallcovering continued to operate from Peters’ house for the next five years. During that time, the company established a niche in the growing resort industry, primarily through wall covering contracts at Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island. With multiple crews working on Kiawah and Seabrook, Peters Wallcovering soon became the largest wall covering contractor in the region.
In 1985, the company landed its first significant commercial wallcovering contract at Charleston’s newest downtown sensation, The Omni Hotel, now Charleston Place. The successful completion of the job officially established the re-named and re-focused Peters Paint & Wallcovering as a commercial wallcovering contractor; and secured the company’s foothold in the hospitality industry, which remains a vital part of its business today. A growing reputation for high-quality work and customer satisfaction, along with a growing workload, also prompted the partners to purchase a building and move their burgeoning company into a formal business environment at 1727 Ashley River Road in Charleston. Over the next two decades, Peters Paint & Wallcovering grew to become one the largest commercial painting and wallcovering contractors in the Lowcountry.
But in the mid-1980s, the partners began seeing a trend moving away from wall covering back to paint driven, in part, by growing concerns over mold and mildew issues associated with vinyl wall covering applied over sheetrock. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Peters and O’Neal looked to expand their services to include painting. Today, commercial painting contracts represent nearly 98% of the company’s overall resume.
Partnership Buy-Out Brings Changes
In 2005, Tommy Peters bought out his long-time partner. At the helm of the company alone for the first time, Peters soon began to re-evaluate his company’s “Mom & Pop” business model, and to devise a plan to elevate his commercial paint and wall covering business to a higher level. Now with the latitude to make key business decisions that would affect the strategic direction of the business, Peters slowly began to implement changes.
Peters believes the addition of three key management-level staff positions marked the beginning of a new era of greater efficiency and higher profitability for the company. The positions included: Patricia Diamond, project manager; Steven Taylor, field manager; and Maybank Cain, office manager. With the help of his new team members, Peters also adopted the latest software and other technologies to improve the accuracy of his estimates for his clients, as well as the overall efficiency of his business.
Today, Peters Paint & Wallcovering applies approximately 25,000 gallons of paint, installs about 15,000 liner yards of wallpaper, and completes 100+ projects across the tri-county area each year. Peters attributes the company’s continued success to his understanding that when a job is awarded, the selection was based on the company’s ability to meet the budget and function as a team regarding scheduling, performance and service delivery.
While no longer considered a “Mom & Pop,” the Peters Paint & Wallcovering team continues the legacy started by Ben Peters which emphasizes setting high standards and always exceeding client expectations.
Expertise On Loan
Tommy Peters is a long-standing member the Hibernian Society, German Friendly Society, Rotary Club and the Carolina Yacht Club. He currently services on the board of the Charleston Contractor Association and the Greater Charleston Hotel & Motel Association. He is also an avid supporter of the American College of the Building Arts.
Tommy Peters is available to the media to offer his insights and expertise in the field of commercial painting and related industries. Always following the trends in the construction industry, he is a knowledgeable (and often humorous) speaker on important topics such as: Resource Trends in Commercial Construction; Economic Shifts in Commercial Development; Small Business Development Strategies; How to Better Serve Key Customers; Green Construction; and other topics as they relate to the commercial construction industry.