Visit to the Behr Den

Calling all painting contractors -- and any other people who paint! I have just returned from a full-access tour of the Behr den (headquarters in California), and I have a message for you. Well, actually a few messages.

First, to everyone who paints:
Paint isn't just produced; it's engineered. Now, I realize that there is a lot of science behind paint, but nanoscience? Yes! The first stop on the Behr tour was in the company's technical lab, where high-level chemists (with the word Doctor in front of their names) and high-tech equipment (with the word Nano in front of their names) are employed to finesse formulas and detect potential deficiencies -- always in their quest of product innovation. No resting on laurels here!
Behr obsesses about color. The word chromophilia comes to mind. If you love color and appreciate its nuances, you would be impressed with how much Behr invests in color expertise and strategy (and again, more science). One surprising discovery in this area was the walk-in freezer where swatches of every single color that Behr has ever produced are accurately preserved for all eternity. Talk about obsession...
Behr is big: HolyMoly big! Picture a two-story barrel for mixing a 12,000-gallon batch of paint – in total precision, by the way. Now picture several of them, from which the liquid is piped to the canning area where containers are labeled, sealed, filled and boxed in efficient fashion.

Seeing the Behr manufacturing plant felt like a visit to a candy factory – and this factory was as clean as a candy kitchen, too. It was almost hypnotic to watch the caravans of empty cans riding the rails overhead and all around as they were dressed with labels, strapped with handles, filled, sealed and sent on their way.

From manufacturing, we were delivered to one of the company's 11 U.S. distribution facilities where once again, precision prevailed. This 220,000-sq. ft. warehouse as orderly and as well-stocked as any kitchen pantry you'll ever see. Rows and rows of shelves towered to the ceiling (the very high ceiling) ready for orders to be filled by people who have been properly limbered in their pre-shift fitness regimen. They are also equipped with high-reaching lifts and armed with digital scanners that guarantee accurate picking. And that's how Behr keeps The Home Depot shelves (and you) well supplied.

Now a word to the professional painting contractor:
Behr wants to help you know their business. Did you know that Behr offers benefits just for you and your business? Through its BehrPro program, painting contractors have access to services like free job-site delivery, the person-to-person support of a BehrPro Representative through more than 1,900 Home Depot stores, factory tinting and color services, plus quantity discounts and will-call services. Ask for a BehrPro Product and Service Catalog at the contractor desk to find out more.
Behr wants to help you grow your business. This part is really cool: Besides all these advantages, BehrPro will help you create your own company Web site. It's easy and it's free! And that's how new customers are going to find you. Go to to check it out.

The BehrPro Web program offers free Web site creation to painting contractors. It's all designed and maintained for you, so you can use your time actually painting and building customer connections.

All-in-all, my day at Behr was an eye-opening and educational experience – just like the field trips that used to take us away from school for the day (but with a much more enjoyable bus ride).

In the applications lab, expert paint appliers test for improvements to the end-user experience, checking for spatter, coverage, roll-, brush- and spray-ability, smell, etc. This application was of Behr's new Marquee interior paint, showing the paint's one-coat coverage over high-contrast colors.

Disclaimer: Behr Pro provided travel and lodging to this event but the thoughts and opinions about this event and the products tested are solely that of HANDY.