Business Starts with a Wine Glass and a Paint Brush

by RaeAnne Marsh

Briefs_PaintingWithATwist_2Franchisees of Arizona’s first Painting with a Twist, Shernell and Jeremy Mays, say they fell in love with the concept from their first experience as customers. They decided to open a studio for the art class/social hour in Tempe when they moved to the Valley from Texas last September, and Shernell says she’s found the business environment very supportive. “At Tempe Chamber of Commerce meetings, people are excited to hear that there’s something new to the commerce community,” she says.

“We’re more than an art class — we’re an art party,” Shernell says. The studio, which can hold 48 in the main room and another 24 in the private party room, provides all the serving needs for BYOB wine and all the art supplies. Each class is scheduled for a specified painting out of the more than 4,000 the Mays have copyright to and that span the range of painting genres. Instructors the Mays hire must be artists themselves, but, says Shernell, “It’s more about ‘Are you able to entertain?’”

Combining wine and art in a setting where friends can get together and have fun is a big part of the business. But Shernell notes, “We do a lot for families and for communities.” The classes themselves serve as bonding events that bring families together, and some of the sessions are designated as “Painting with a Purpose” events from which half of the proceeds are donated to a chosen charity. And the instructors are encouraged to promote their professional art career after their class because, says Shernell, “We’re trying to bring awareness of the art community.”

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