COUPLE OPENS NEW PAINT STORE, FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE

October 15, 2002 11:00 pm

Brad and Janell Payne are still putting the finishing touches on display cases and getting in supplies and inventory, but they're settling in at one of La Grande's newest businesses, a paint store.

"Things are going very well so far," Janell said of the new store, called Wakefields, at 2104 Cove Avenue. "We're getting our name out and have already created a niche for our products."

The store opened in August.

The couple chose Wakefields, the maiden name of Janell's 89-year-old grandmother, Hermoine Annie Wakefield, who lives in Lebanon in the Willamette Valley.

"She's helped me tremendously over the years," Janell said.

There are two employees now, Janell said. She will keep her job at Bob Mason's State Farm Insurance agency and Brad will continue to work at the Union County Airport. He also has a business of building experimental airplanes from kits. They will keep those jobs, they said.

"I have been in teaching and sold insurance. I wanted to do something more creative," Janell said as one reason she wanted to start the store. This is the first retail business ownership for the couple.

"I love home decorating. I wanted to own a business that would make people feel good about themselves."

She said she researched to find what appears to be missing in La Grande and then brought in the products to fill the gap.

The main lines of paints are Pratt and Lambert and the Divine line of Miller's.

"We are service oriented. We will deliver to a home or work site with a purchase of 10 gallons or more. We will spend hours to help people get the right colors," Janell said.

They have small packets of paint and quart sizes for people to take home and try out to see if it's the color they want.

Selecting the right color is the key for making a home appealing, she said.

Store hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is 975-1528.