Kevin Blanch – Arch Painting Inc.
Over a time-intensive four months, workers meticulously did their jobs. They cordoned off stalls using plastic barriers, vented dust and odors and repainted.
All this while in adjoining areas, large animals including horses, alpacas, goats and sheep were undergoing surgery, MRIs, ultrasounds and other procedures.
“Painting a facility for animals is tricky enough but painting a facility that was actively housing some of the school’s patients made it an even more difficult task,” says Kevin Blanch, Arch Painting’s senior vice president of business development. “Still, it was worth it for all parties involved. Our customer was left with a beautiful facility that reflected the great work they do, and their patients with access to the best possible environment for their temporary care.”
Diverse projects, bright plans
If you’re from eastern Massachusetts, you may be familiar with the TV and radio jingle: “Paint the walls, paint the halls, we can help you do it all/make it cool, make it bright, it’s your vision brought to light.”
Established in 1997 and based in Woburn, Massachusetts, Arch Painting performs commercial and residential projects throughout New England. These include interior and exterior painting, wallcoverings and floor coverings, fireproof coatings, and specialized coatings such as acoustic ceiling tile restorations and white board wall paint. The company also does light carpentry work and has developed a niche in the restoration and painting of historic homes.
All projects are undertaken by several dedicated project managers and a large team of full-time laborers—up to 200 depending on demand, according to Blanch. Having renovated and expanded its main office in 2019, the company has an aggressive goal to double in size over the short term, he adds.
Over the years, Arch’s high-profile clients have included the Museum of Science in Boston, Fenway Park, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. But the industries it serves and the projects it takes on are wide-ranging: from the restoration of a rusting metal ceiling in a retail meat cooler; to the washing and scraping of Dewey Square in Boston to make way for annually rotating large-scale murals; to cosmetic and aesthetic upgrades at a luxury independent assisted living facility.
Then there was the unique undertaking at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Located in North Grafton in central Massachusetts, the premier 40,000-square-foot facility includes an intensive care unit, surgical suites and diagnostic imaging equipment.
As Blanch explains, the university was looking for a refresh in advance of a regular accreditation process. Arch commenced work in the summer when the school was at its busiest and near capacity. To minimize disruption—and to prevent animals undergoing care from being spooked—workers handled 20 percent of the facility’s stalls at a time. They also performed many tasks manually, such as the scraping, sanding and caulking of walls, baseboard and trim.
Similarly, “considerable thought had to be put into the products used,” says Blanch. To that end, Arch chose Sherwin-Williams Macropoxy 646 products in Optic Yellow and Cedar Green, he says.
“They needed something durable enough to withstand large animal behavior,” Blanch explains, “while also being chemically-resistant enough for staff to easily clean and sanitize the stalls.”
Because no two sections were the same, and due to the nature of the physical space and its use, “the scope continually evolved throughout the project’s duration,” says Blanch—making it one of Arch’s more dynamic recent projects.
Establishing new (positive) stereotypes
Arch Founder and CEO Joe Giacalone started out painting in high school to save up for college, then continued painting throughout his studies at Suffolk University to help pay the bills.
“I loved the work,” he recalls, “but hated the negative connotations that were associated with painting contractors,” such as, he notes, a tendency to cut corners and provide overall unprofessional service. So he launched Arch with a goal to “squash” those negative stereotypes by offering fast response, quick turnaround and off-hours work and scheduling, he explains.
“There are no shortcuts or easy ways out,” says Giacalone, who holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Suffolk and a master’s in sociology from Boston University. “We treat every project as if we’re working on our own home or business.”
In that same vein, Arch is active in the community and in charitable giving. The company has a partnership with the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism and, among other donations in 2016, it gifted 200 gallons of paint to a local church in Haiti following the devasting earthquake.
Overall, Giacalone says, “I think the main reason this company has been growing over the years is that we’ve been successful in developing long-term relationships.”
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