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Local entrepreneur launched first US franchise in Tampa Bay!

17 Sep 2014 10:49 AM | Working Women (Administrator)

For Immediate Release
Think PR Group
Marcea Neitman 727.744.5778

Local entrepreneur launched first US franchise in Tampa Bay, now opens third with a “Twist” in Clearwater

(Clearwater, Florida)  unlock your inner Picasso… a new place where friends, family and even executives for team building events are coming together to paint, drink, have fun and discover their artistic ability.  Leslie and Marvin Gay were the FIRST to open a Painting with a Twist studio franchise in St. Petersburg Florida five years ago.  By the end of 2014; Painting with a Twist plans to have over 200 through the US.  The Gays own a second studio in Tampa and are now opening their third studio in Clearwater. 

According to Entrepreneur Magazine 2014; Painting with a Twist is the #1 franchise in the hottest “Paint and Sip” industry.  Fox and Friends national US morning news, June 2014 named Painting with a Twist as one of the top five franchises hiring for 2014.  Besides schools; Painting with a Twist is the largest independent company to employ the most artists in the country.  The “Paint and Sip” industry started in 2009 – roughly 190 are small individually owned and a handful of large scale franchise operations.  The turnkey investment to become a Painting with a Twist franchise is approximately $100,000.  Franchise partners have access to comprehensive and ongoing training from a Home Office support staff of 16 professionals, a national PR firm and the company’s industry-leading library of more than 4,000 copyrighted and original paintings.

Leslie and Marvin Gay of St. Pete are in the top 10% of Painting with a Twist’s top producing studios out of over the current 160+ for 2014.  On average Painting with a Twist studios experience an average of 23% sales growth year-over-year.  30% of the franchise partners own more than one studio. 

The Gays were instrumental in working with the founders of Painting with a Twist; Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney in New Orleans develop the franchise and then open the very first franchise in the US.  Leslie Gay 61, and her husband Marvin Gay, 71, a retired accountant looked at the Painting with a Twist franchise as an opportunity to invest in something they could control.   “The interest rate at the time in 2009, was zero, so we weren’t making any money on our savings and we saw it as an opportunity to take a portion and use it for something we could control – we were investing in ourselves,” says Marvin.  A year and half later they opened a second studio in South Tampa and now their third in Clearwater.

So what is the success business model of Painting with a Twist?
Facebook and email marketing are the key channels of communication.  Each studio’s website provides the painting class schedule and registration is handled on line with pre-payment of a credit card.  This is a customer service business and the Gays believe their studio’s success is largely due to the amazingly talented artists they have on their team who lead the classes and inspire the customers seven days a week.   The results?  Each studio is entertaining and creating a great experience for about 350 customers each week.  And, the #1 advertising vehicle are the customers themselves!  Old fashioned; “word of the mouth” is the #1 way people are hearing about Painting with a Twist!

The Gays schedule a monthly charitable event at each studio.  Leslie shares; “We feel so good to be able to give back to our community and to charitable events far beyond what we could ever do on our own.” Most recently the St. Petersburg and Tampa studios participated in the Vera Bradley Cancer Foundation Painting with a Purpose.  The Gays raised over $3,000 for the cause.  “Ties and Tennis Shoes” is an annual local charitable fundraising event the Gays host with Pinellas Education Foundation.  The couple is also very active in many local organizations; Grand Central District Association, Tampa Bay Business Owners, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Clearwater Regional Chamber.   Leslie is active in Network Professionals Incorporated, South Pinellas County and Working Women of Tampa Bay.  Marvin is the Treasurer and active in St. Petersburg Kiwanis

Painting with a Twist
Painting with a Twist, based in Mandeville, Louisiana is the leading Paint and Sip franchise with more than 150 locations throughout the United States.   Founded in 2007 by Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney, Painting with a Twist began franchising in 2009 and provides customers with paint, a canvas and brushes that lead to a fun evening with friends and a finished piece of art.  For more information about Painting with a Twist, visit


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