The Seacoast’s most `Wicked Awesome’ paint
store has an eighty year old story of success.

By Paul C. Snyder

Atlantic News, Thursday, May 27, 1999

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]

THE STAFF — Shown above (left to right) are Mike Balkus, David Grassi, owner Jack Boland, Jr., and Christopher Smith, the staff of Wicked Awesome Paint and Wallpaper.
[Atlantic News Photo by Paul Snyder]

HAMPTON — W. A. Paint owner Jack Boland, Jr. stands in his store at its new location across from Newicks on Lafayette Road in Hampton and proudly looks about at what is the culmination of a successful 80 year old business — a business founded on, “knowing what it is you’re good at and giving the customer the best service possible.” Boland added, “The most important part of our stores is the history of our stores.”

Jack, Jr. is the third generation Boland to own the operation which was founded by his grandfather, William P. back in 1919 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. William P. was a painting contractor who sold supplies. Boland’s Dad, Jack, Sr., set up the business after graduating college in Haverhill as “Boland’s Decorating Center,” which was sold two years ago, and later set up a second store in Newburyport, which is still in operation, called, “Port Paint ‘n Paper.”

Then, nine years ago, the Bolands, along with Jack, Jr.’s brother, Mark, opened their third store in Stoneleigh Plaza on Lafayette Road in North Hampton. They named it Wicked Awesome Wallpaper & Paint. When asked about how they arrived at this unusual name, Boland replied that when he told his two young daughters, Mary and Meghan, that they were going to open another store, their reply was “wicked” and awesome.” While skiing one day, Roland told his dad about what his daughters had said. His dad replied, “That’s it,. That’s the name.”

“So we went with it,” Boland said, “It was very controversial at first. Some people were taken back a bit. But, I thought it was fun and it did grab people’s attention. It’s an unforgettable name. And that’s the thing’ about our stores. They’re comfortable and fun. People enjoy shopping here — and that’s the way we like to do business,” he added.

Boland said opening the North Hampton store in 1990 was predicated on some marketing studies they made which indicated the area needed such a store. He said it was a wonderful place to do business but, because they had such a small wallpaper department, it was difficult to do business there. He said, between the inventory and the demand, they knew they had to find another place. So when Roger’s Ski Shop vacated the building in Hampton, Boland felt it was a natural for their business because he, “liked all the different rooms, the different levels and different areas.” It wasn’t a “cookie cutter” type of store. So last year they bought the building and made the move.

Now, well organized and established, Boland is very happy with the decision. He said the building lends itself to decorating, giving customers a different idea of what they can do. Boland is proud to point out that they have a full finishing room upstairs where customers can learn to do all the creative finishes, such as sponge painting and marbling. There’s the “sale loft” where you can buy paint for $5.99 a gallon. He’s excited about the new wallpaper department which, alone, is the size of the old store in Stoneleigh Plaza. And he strongly feels that the key to this successful move and expansion is due to having fine employees and loyal customers.

Now more people are discovering Wicked Awesome Wallpaper & Paint; and Boland emphasizes that once a new customer comes into the store, they do everything to keep that customer for life — the magic word is “service,” simply, plain good service is the name of the business. And customers are coming from miles around. Not only because of the service, but because the store has more product lines to offer.

Along with Benjamin Moore, W.A. Paint now offers California brand paints, as well as Cabot and Sikkens stains. And now, to get on the cutting edge of wallpaper sales, they’ve taken on the Imperial Gallery line complete with their new Imperial Color System display where you can pick out a sample book containing only the basic and related colors you want.

“If you want green you simply take out the green book,” Boland said, adding that they probably now have over 2000 different kinds of wallpaper and over 1000 different border designs in stock. Boland went on to emphasize that while a lot of competitors are cutting back on their inventories, they are not.

He stressed the importance of service, “Today with the advent of big chain stores … if you need, service you dial an internal phone number and wait 10 or 20 minutes for someone to come and help you. Then, when they’ve answered your questions, they leave. Here at Wicked Awesome when someone comes in we don’t want them walking around looking for help. When a customer comes in, people are here, ready to help. And we’ll take them through the entire sale from color matching to decorating advice to helping them understand how to measure a wall, even helping them check out at the cash register. No, we’re not in the room decorating business. About the only time we go into your home is to measure for custom window treatments.”

Boland feels many people, when they get into the paint and wallpaper business, try to do too much and spread their services and expertise too thin. He concluded, “Here at Wicked Awesome we know what we do well and we focus on that — we sell paint and paint supplies, wallpaper and wallpaper supplies; and to do this, we try to give you all the help and service needed to make your shopping at Wicked Awesome a happy and productive experience.”

Wicked Awesome is located at 848 Lafayette Road in Hampton, just across the street from Newicks [in 1999]. Their phone number is (603) 929-1717. Operating hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. On Saturday they are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You’ll find plenty of parking on both sides of the store.

IT’S SO HARD TO CHOOSE! — Have you ever “been there”? There’s so many choices — and then just when you think you’ve decided, you discover another book! Rita Boisselle, of Rochester, is shown leafing through sample books, trying to make a selection.
[Atlantic News Photo by Paul Snyder]

HARD AT WORK — Christopher Smith (left) and David Grassi (right) are shown hard at work in the paint storage area of the store. (This is one way of ‘keeping fit’!)
[Atlantic News Photo by Paul Snyder]

SEE THE QUALITY OF WA PAINT’S PAINT — WA Paint helped out the North Hampton Bandstand as it gave these prolific painters a contractor’s discount. Seen busily painting here are Eden Lear, Peggy Neves, Rick Ryerse, Pam Ryerse, and George Chase who were among many people who volunteered their time last weekend to repaint the bandstand.
[Atlantic News Photo by John Hirtle]


LATEST IN THE ‘DYNASTY’ — ‘Jack Boland, Jr., shown standing in front of his store, Wicked Awesome Paint and Wallpaper at 848 Lafayette Road in Hampton. The store is the culmination of a supcesstul 80-year-old family business.
[Atlantic News Photo by Paul Snyder]

ANN WHITE is the bookkeeper at Wicked Awesome Paint and Wallpaper.
[Atlantic News Photo by Paul Snyder]