Stroke of success for Penticton in Paint What Matters contest

Penticton has been selected as one of the top 20 communities in Benjamin Moore’s Main Street Matters competition.

Marketing director Mark Hodge (left) of Benjamin Moore with Penticton Benjamin Moore store owners Tracy and John Kelly and Downtown Penticton Association representatives Kerri Milton and Campbell Watt at the store Tuesday. Penticton was one of 20 cities chosen as the winners of the company’s Main Street Matters promotion.

Marketing director Mark Hodge (left) of Benjamin Moore with Penticton Benjamin Moore store owners Tracy and John Kelly and Downtown Penticton Association representatives Kerri Milton and Campbell Watt at the store Tuesday. Penticton was one of 20 cities chosen as the winners of the company’s Main Street Matters promotion.

Main Street does matter, at least in Penticton.

Penticton has been selected as one of the top 20 communities in Benjamin Moore’s Main Street Matters competition, putting the city on the list for enough paint to refresh a three-block area of downtown.

City Hall, the Downtown Penticton Association, the Chamber of Commerce and a variety of other community organizations all spent the month of June exhorting everyone in the community to get out and vote in the online contest day and on as many devices as possible.

While voting in the competition was easy enough, Penticton started out at a disadvantage, entering the contest two weeks after it started and competing with 130 communities also vying to be in the top 20.

With nearly half a million votes and an incredible outpouring of stories, viral videos and passionate pleas on paintwhatmatters.ca, the city had a big job to get into the top 20.

Tracy Kelly, who, along with her husband John, just purchased the Penticton Benjamin Moore outlet on May 1, said that as soon as she learned about the contest, she knew the city had a shot.

“You know when you read something and you think this would be possible?” said Kelly, who said it was the community effort that pushed Penticton over the top. “There wasn’t just one organization involved. There was so many organizations and everyone was doing their own promotion on it. In store, we did so much advertising about the promotion and everyone we talked to on our Facebook page, our Twitter. And the DPA did the same, and the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Penticton.”

Kerri Milton, executive director of the DPA, said even the vendors on the street at the community market got in the act, voting on their phones while working the Saturday morning market.

“There was a lot of very stiff competition out there. There are a number of communities that got behind this as well, like Gibson’s Landing, they were using the fact they are a historical landmark and tried to play on that,” said Mark Hodge, director of market development with Benjamin Moore. “It was exciting for us, but Penticton was the best.”

Acting mayor Garry Litke got into the act, offering to paint his arms and legs for the Granfondo if Penticton won. But the announcement came the day after the bike race,  the same day Litke resigned from council to run for mayor, so it appears he has escaped from having to fulfill the promise, at least for now. Hodge said Litke’s commercial caused some buzz at Benjamin Moore as they considered taking the challenge to the other mayors and seeing what they would do to win.

The amount of paint that is going to come Penticton’s way is yet to be determined, according to Hodge, who said it will be determined based on the requirements of the area to be painted.

Benjamin Moore will provide all necessary paint, stain and supplies for façades, porches, railings, shutters and other exterior building trims.

Hodge said their crew will work with the city, the local retailer and painting contractors to determine how the project will proceed. The areas to be painted will be determined jointly with town representatives and residents, and Benjamin Moore colour experts will consult on colour choices.

“That will ultimately decide how much is needed,” said Hodge.  “There is a process involved with making sure we have the right people involved, getting the right colour selected and working with the local businesses. There is a bit of work to be done.”

Hodge expects that will be completed late this year, with painting starting in 2014.

“We don’t want to be painting here in November, December or January,” he said. “In all likelihood, we will see it early next year, but everything will be in place well before that time.”

To learn more about Main Street Matters, follow the revitalization process and learn about other cities that made the top 20, visit paintwhatmatters.com or www.paintwhatmatters.ca.