Case Studies

APC Services of New England

Providing diverse painting and coating services under pressure

APC Services of New England (APC) has been serving the Northeast since 1931. Patrick Ronan purchased the business in 2012 after working with the previous owner for 26 years. Today, he operates the business with his father, Frank Ronan, who serves as sales manager for APC. With a team of 14, the family business has built lasting relationships with clients and strategic partners over the years. APC specializes in painting and coating services, but has diversified into related services.

APC proudly serves the New England area, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The team’s experience includes restoration of historical sites, commercial, institutional and industrial painting, as well as coatings and wall coverings out of a single location in Melrose, Mass. The business performs estimating, assistance with specifications and project management, while operating a network of experienced workers around the region.

A growing portfolio

The company’s long history and strong strategic partnerships have helped keep business steady. APC has a diverse client base, including schools, hotels and production facilities. According to Frank, hospitality and multifamily residential work rounds out the balance of the company’s business. In recent years, the team has been busy refinishing and upgrading hotels and condominiums in the Northeast.

In 2013, the team completed a unique project for a hotel owner in Gloucester, Mass. “The owner of the hotel takes major clients out on his yacht for cruises,” Frank explains. “We repainted that for him, as well. We have painted boats many times before, but at around 100 feet, this was the largest vessel we have worked on, wall coverings and repainting all the ceilings and walls in November.”

The team also recently worked on the Hyatt Regency along the Charles River in Cambridge. “There was a major leak in the roof that damaged the Sheetrock on the 14th floor above the main lobby,” says Frank. “We were called in to take care of it over a few days in January. We set up the staging to not impact guests coming into the hotel, working day and night to get it done in only five days. We had painters working 140 to 150 feet in the air, repairing everything up above. There was a major time constraint because the hotel had a convention scheduled, but we couldn’t get in until the first of the year because they knew they would have New Year’s guests.”

This was not the first time APC and its partners have worked in high places. The team has worked on several catholic churches around Boston. Therefore, the company is partnered with several skilled artists. Often, these painters were on staging up to 100 feet in the air, refinishing murals of saints and angels.

“We go in and match fine art colors,” Frank explains. “The foreman creates work that looks like it belongs in a museum. When he is done restoring the damaged piece, you would never know that it had been repaired.”

APC has also established a unique presence in the industrial sector; specifically food manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. “With clean rooms and production floors being overseen by an alphabet soup of government agencies, having specialized experience is invaluable to the client,” Frank notes. “Companies realize that they are one failed audit away from a costly fine or worse, being shut down, so they are very proactive about sanitary conditions. Peeling paint, mold, mildew, even condensation in a production area can render millions of dollars of product unsellable. We help them avoid those situations.”

Broad strokes

Despite the recession, APC has managed to remain steady in recent years. “The recession was painful,” Frank notes. “We saw a major drop in hours and many of the general contractors we worked with regularly either cut way back or went out of business. Now things are coming back strong and it looks like we are going to have a fabulous year. Our management team has increased efficiency, the average foreman has now been with us for more than a decade and we have enough manpower to handle the expected load.”

Fortunately, the market is picking up. Patrick and his team are looking at a successful year in 2014. In response, the business is expanding. Frank expects to hire more project managers in the coming year and build a greater presence in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. While the business has evolved over the years, the Ronan family continues to take pride in tradition. APC Services of New England has established a strong base of repeat customers that will help carry the business through a new phase of growth in the coming years.

Published on: July 21, 2014

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