Laid-off paint store employees find new opportunity

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:49 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After more than 50 years of service, a staple paint store in the community has closed its doors, leaving its employees uncertain of their future.

That is, until one Anchorage business owner stepped in.

Jason Smith, the owner of Yes Enterprises LLC, wanted to help those affected by the sudden closure of the Curtis and Campbell hardware store brand last year, and approached Steven and Walter Lozano — a pair of brothers who have been in the paint industry for years — to partner with and start their own shop.

In December 2021, the Lozano’s say they were given little notice that they would each soon be out of a job, and began preparations to leave Alaska, something that after 27 years in the business, they couldn’t comprehend.

Before Smith, the Lozano brothers hadn’t considered running their own store before, but they said the timing was right, and they felt that Smith shared the same vision for what partnership would look like.

“They were more of what we were used to, more of the family-oriented atmosphere that we were accustomed to,” Steven Lozano said. “Opportunity knocked, and me and Walt decided to go for it.”

Smith already had the location for Yes Floors, a 16,000-square foot warehouse just off of Old Seward Highway.

But to make room for Yes Paint, some changes had to be made. In the back of the warehouse, they transformed 6,000 square feet of space into a brand new department, working tirelessly for 30 days straight. Smith says none of it would be possible without the Lozano’s.

“Steven and Walt, they went through, they painted shelving, they painted walls,” Smith said. “We had a company come in and actually give us a storefront to make it even more official.”

The Lozano’s say that in Anchorage, the paint industry has 15 different locations to serve customers. They said the family atmosphere that has earned them their reputation is what sets them apart.

“We like to give hugs, and handshakes, and dap and all that good stuff around here,” Steve Lozano said.

The brothers said they are just getting started in their new roles, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to slow down anytime soon. They say that in the upcoming years, they hope to expand throughout the state.

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