Choosing paint can be an emulsional experience

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Independent paint shop owner Jim Johnston aims to leave his bigger rivals in the shade when it comes to helping customers decide on the right colour scheme.

As Scotland’s first stockist of Farrow and Ball, almost 20 years ago now, his business has earned a reputation for premium products and expert, impartial advice.

Jim was working as a sales manager for a large paint company in 1995 when he seized an opportunity to take over an established shop in Edinburgh and start his own venture.

Keen to offer more choice, he extended Russell Paints in Warrender Park Road into neighbouring premises and purchased his a second shop, Caledonian Paints, a few years later.

Between the two outlets, customers now have access to a wide range of brands, including Farrow and Ball, Little Greene, Paint and Paper Library, Crown, Johnstone’s and Macpherson, as well as specialist wood finishes and decorating tools.

A free colour matching service is also available, offering thousands of shades with the help of a computerised tinting system.

“What all independents thrive on is product choice and customer service,” says Jim. “You can walk into a huge outlet where you are left to self-select, but that often means making an uninformed choice, which can lead to problems or mistakes.”

Jim prides himself on running a “truly independent” business with no franchise ties or affiliations, leaving him free to offer genuine choice. “It is important that people get what is right and best for the job, even if it wasn’t what they came in for. In some instances that means spending more and in some instances it means spending less,” he adds.

Russell Paints, 71 Warrender Park Road, 0131 229 1505, www.russellpaints.co.uk; Caledonian Paints, Ratcliffe Terrace, 0131 668 4010