“You can’t be in business just to do business. You have to help people.”
That’s the powerful way Mark DeLucia describes the philosophy of South Broad Paint & Home Center, a PPG Paints dealer in Wallingford, Connecticut. DeLucia and his business partner, James Carlozzi, co-own the local retailer, which opened in Wallingford in 2015. Together, these local business owners have spent the last four years doing much more than business.
“We’ve been in this location for a few years, but we’ve been in the business about 20 years each,” explains DeLucia. “When we came to Wallingford, our first order of business was to become engrained with the community.”
From the very start, this goal was about more than the store’s bottom line. DeLucia and Carlozzi wanted to be resources for their community and role models for their families. “It’s really important to establish early that it’s more than just about business,” DeLucia says. “It’s about people – relationships with people and with community members.”
Last year, South Broad Paint & Home Center partnered with a group of local volunteers to repaint and repair 54 homes in the local community. The homes needed everything from a fresh coat of paint to a wheelchair-friendly access ramp. In just one week, some 350 volunteers repainted and repaired 54 homes for low-income, elderly and disabled residents in the community. To support the Wallingford Workcamp, South Broad Paint & Home Center worked with PPG Paints to provide paint and paint supplies for the various projects.
Meanwhile, DeLucia and Carlozzi continue to support under-served communities in other ways. Twice a month, South Broad Paint & Home Center hosts a work crew from the nearby organization, Abilities Without Boundaries, which helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities lead more productive and fulfilling lives. Through its employment partnership with Abilities Without Boundaries, South Broad Paint & Home Center welcomes the work crew to help with tasks like vacuuming, sweeping, washing windows and other regular upkeep.
“It’s a great group of hardworking individuals,” says DeLucia. “They take a lot of pride in their work.”
In addition to these pursuits, South Broad Paint & Home Center has sponsored a local youth softball team, donating a digital scoreboard to its field. In store, the business maintains a kid-friendly play area for children who accompany their parents to the store.
"Our goal was to get engrained in the local area not only to establish ourselves as a business, but also to let people know that we’re professional, we’re here to help, and we’re here to provide a service,” says DeLucia.
Four years in, South Broad Paint & Home Center appears to have accomplished this goal – but the commitment won’t end any time soon. For more information, visit www.southbroadpaintcenter.com.
This story is part of our ongoing ‘Local Memories, Lasting Impact’ series that highlights small, locally owned businesses and the differences they make in their communities.