— Interview with Sean Gillespie —
R&R: Where are you based and how long has the company been in business?
Sean Gillespie: Our headquarters is located about 30 miles west of Atlanta in Villa Rica, Georgia. We also have locations/operations in Tampa, Destin and Orlando, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Dallas/Fort Worth; and Nashville, Tennessee. Harrison Contracting Company, Inc. (HCC) has been in business since 1995.
R&R: How long have you been with the company?
Gillespie: Since 2018.
R&R: What services do you offer retailers and restaurants?
Gillespie: We predominantly provide commercial repaint services such as cyclical repaint programs to maintain image/branding. We also have a Facility Maintenance division that provides reactive break-fix services (electrical, plumbing, lot sealing & striping, locksmith, etc.). We are also happy to consult on establishing a repaint/cycle program to maintain your facility to enhance customer experience.
R&R: In what regions of the country do you conduct most of your business, or are you nationwide? What advantages does your geographic scope offer your clients?
Gillespie: Our commercial painting repaint/reimage and facility maintenance divisions have nationwide capability. We also provide new construction commercial painting primarily in southeastern U.S.
R&R: What makes your company’s “signature service” stand out in a crowded industry?
Gillespie: People know HCC because of our bright red color. But for us, it’s more than color, it represents our Reliable, Experienced and Diligent (RED) culture. So, what does that mean? At the heart, it’s our desire to set the benchmark in our industry as the best painters to work with. We want to build relationships that lead to a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs and not simply a wider share of their business. “Reliability” is doing what we say we will do. “Experience” is consistently reviewing our work and applying our knowledge, and “Diligence” is our uncompromising spirit to see it through. Even when problems arise, we don’t quit.
R&R: What kind of feedback do you receive from clients?
Gillespie: We try to create open, honest and direct conversations with our customers that drive engagement and accountability. This is where we feel we add the most value. We’re not expecting a pat on the back, but it’s always greatly appreciated when we do. Our typical mindset is how we can improve even when things are working. We don’t want to become complacent!
R&R: Why should owner/operators choose Harrison to be their next service provider?
Gillespie: We have spent years building a company that focuses on reputation. The heart of our brand is doing what we say we’ll do with a “never-quit” attitude. We work hard to present a clean and professional image to align with the desires of our clients to positively impact image and brand.
R&R: How many retail/restaurant clients do you have, and is that sector growing for you? Would you like to name any of your clients?
Gillespie: We worked diligently to build relationships with multiple retailers over our nearly 30 years in business. This includes Wal-Mart, Outback Steakhouse, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Sam’s Club, The Home Depot, AutoZone, Publix, Lowe’s, Floor & Décor, Advance Auto Parts, Petsmart, GAP Inc., Office Depot and more.
R&R: What are some of the latest trends you see in the FM industry?
Gillespie: Finding continuity and consistency in cycle-programs is a key trend we hope to see continuing across the retail/restaurant sector. Deferred maintenance is obviously a factor from time to time, but keeping repaint programs running and infusing some routine maintenance along the repaint cycle can ensure service provider efficiency and curb appeal for extended years.
R&R: What predictions do you have — for your company, your industry or both — in 2024?
Gillespie: I’ll leave the predictions to the economists and politicians. We intentionally review trend forecasts as a matter of good business practice, and for the most part, the repaint trend may have some softening but still looks to be strong in 2024. What I can predict is that our spirit for doing what we say we’ll do and working to be the benchmark for our clients will only become stronger moving into next year and beyond.
R&R: What are the top 3 most recent projects you are most proud of?
Gillespie: We worked diligently on an interior/exterior program with a national auto parts retailer that required a significant amount of logistics across 900+ locations. The program went very well and has led us to some additional opportunities for 2024.
We also began a new program with a national pet retailer that grew beyond its initial scope extending to over 500 locations and will continue for the next 2+ years.
Lastly, we were pleased to consult with a large, big box retailer in the last decade about enhancing their cycle repaint program. This included building a survey methodology to prioritize locations with greatest repaint needs, and the development of planned maintenance to extend cycles without sacrificing appearance.
R&R: How do you define success with respect to working with retail and restaurant clients nationwide?
Gillespie: Success for us has never really been about targeting a revenue number. Instead, we strive to focus on creating a consultative relationship with our clients where we can bring our experience and industry relationships to the table. Large nationwide programs are most successful when all the key points of the triangle are aligned: owner/project manager, contractor/installer, and material supplier.
— Sean Gillespie is the director, strategic alliances, for Harrison Contracting Company, Inc. This Q&A originally was published in the December 2023/January 2024 issue of Retail & Restaurant Facility Business magazine. For more information in having your company profiled in a future Signature Vendor Spotlight, please contact Scott Royal at [email protected].