The many shades of Sanford

Pop of a paint can signals renewal for downtown
Nov. 26, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

With the first stroke of Blue Gaspe at Carolina Custom Home Theatre Monday morning, local leaders officially began a three-week frenzy to paint downtown Sanford.

Sanford is the third of 20 cities to be painted by Benjamin Moore through its Main Street Matters campaign. After a six-week voting period this summer that saw the city vying for a downtown paint job against 130 other communities, Sanford was the sole North Carolina city selected. Benjamin Moore executives and city of Sanford officials gathered on Carthage Street Monday for the ceremonial "popping" of the paint can lid and first paint stroke. The painting should be finished by mid-December, with a celebration in downtown planned for Dec. 14.

"Main Streets are really important to us," said Benjamin Moore Vice President of Marketing Nick Harris. "It's sort of like the heart of everything, sort of the heart of the community. We think a healthy and vibrant Main Street is a good sign of other things going on. And that is why we believe Main Street is really part of who we are, who we all are here."

A three-block span encompassing more than 30 businesses on Steele Street from Gordon Street to Wicker Street will see some sort of exterior upgrade, likely painting or power washing, Harris said.

"What we hope is this is the beginning — a spark, if you will, on Main Street," he said. "When the brushes are put away and the rollers are put back, we hope we leave something here with you guys, something you continue to look at and redo."

Norato Roofing, located on Wicker Street, has been hired to complete the paint job, and owner Jose Norato said he's looking forward to working with Benjamin Moore and the city. 

"It's a privilege to paint this street," he said. "We are going to try and do our best. … We are really excited to work with the city of Sanford."

Twenty-five colors were chosen for Sanford's palette, according to Benjamin Moore's Color and Design Studio Director Priscilla Ghaznavi.

"When we approach each town that we are painting, on all the different Main Streets across America, we like to look into the actual heritage of the town," she said. "We research what the town is made of."

Through the team's research, they discovered Sanford's rich history of brick work and consulted with individual businesses on what matched their storefronts.   

With the passage of the city of Sanford's $14.5 million in bond referendums, which include streetscape improvements to downtown, Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive said city residents can expect to see a plethora of changes.

"This is a wonderful day for us," Olive said. "And as soon as this is finished, we will be implementing our bond money. So what do we have to look forward [to other] than great things?"