News Releases 2017

Pinot’s Palette Honors Top Franchisees at National Conference

Paint-and-Sip Franchise Celebrates Best of 2016

HOUSTON (May 3, 2017)– Proving that great art makes great business, Pinot’s Palette – a pioneer of the paint and sip category — recognized its top artists and franchise owners recently at the fifth annual Pinot’s Palette National Conference and Retreat in Galveston, Texas.

“These franchise owners represent the best of what Pinot’s Palette is all about and showcase incredible dedication to their customers and communities,” said Charles Willis, Co-founder and President of Pinot’s Palette. “Their passion and commitment serve as an example of why Pinot’s Palette continues to grow across the country. We are excited to keep adding incredible franchisees to represent the premium paint and sip experience that’s taking the world by storm.”

This year’s franchisee award winners include the following:

  • #topright Award (franchisee that delivers extraordinary customer service): Scott and Soozie Wisely, Orlando, FL
  • Pinot Perks Award (franchisee that secured the most new Pinot Perks members): Pam Bartlett, Naperville, IL
  • Rookie of the Year (new franchisee): Heidi and Ray Leonard, South Hill, Washington
  • Most Improved Sales: Dan and Julie Truckenbrod, Liberty Station- San Diego, CA
  • Champion Award (franchisee that mentors incoming franchise candidates): Robyn McClure, Dulles, VA
  • Happy Place Award (franchisee that has made their studio a place for artists to grow personally and professionally): Reed and Judy Alewel, Henderson, NV
  • Decanter Award (franchisee that best represents the company’s values): Lisa Riley, Cherry Street- Tulsa, OK
  • Picasso Award (franchisee who produced the most paintings submitted to the Master Painting Library): Kat Baker, St. Matthews- Louisville, KY
  • Impressionism Award (franchisee who has outstanding marketing): Jim and Barbara Newman, Olathe, KS
  • Smooth Strokes Award (franchisee with the most successful and seamless studio opening): Ryan Beam, Woodmere, OH

Golden Brush Awards, recognizing the top studios for 2016 sales, went to:

  • First place BYOB (One room): Chris and Emma Harvey, Ridgewood, NJ
  • First place BYOB (Two room): Richard Barton, Fred Fadell, Dorothy Ferlanti, Red Bank, NJ
  • First place bar (One room): Cherisse and Scott Lockerd, Tustin- Orange County, CA
  • First place bar (Two room): Pam Bartlett, Naperville, IL
  • Million Dollar Award: Pam Bartlett, Naperville, IL

EY Announces Charles Willis Of Pinot’s Palette® Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award Finalist In Gulf Coast Area

Houston, TX (May 4, 2017) – EY today announced that Charles Willis, co-founder and president of Pinot’s Palette, is a finalist for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award in Gulf Coast Area. The awards program, which is celebrating its 31st year, recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Willis was selected as a finalist by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced at a gala event on June 15, 2017, at the Marriott Marquis.

“Pinot’s Palette has surpassed all my expectations of what I hoped success would look like when I took the entrepreneurial plunge,” said co-founder and president Charles Willis. “Being named a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year is validation of all the hard work put in from the franchisees and the corporate team to make Pinot’s Palette the success that it is today. As we continue to grow across the country and now on an international stage, we are excited to keep adding incredible franchisees to represent the premium paint and sip experience that’s taking the world by storm.”

Now in its 31st year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National competition. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 18, 2017. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth ForumTM, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Pinot’s Palette® To Introduce Four Studios In Portland, Oregon

HOUSTON (March 29, 2017) Pinot’s Palette, a pioneer of the paint and sip entertainment category, has announced additional expansion plans for the Pacific Northwest over the next 24 months. The company, which provides a social experience that combines guests’ favorite cocktails and snacks with an opportunity to create their own masterpiece, offers aspiring entrepreneurs the tools and support to get a business off the ground quickly and successfully in their local community.

With the nearest studio over 100 miles away in South Hill, Washington, Pinot’s Palette plans to bring the nation’s top paint and sip experience to Oregon with four new studio openings in Portland and an additional four studios throughout the state.

“Our owners across the country continually tell us what a joy it is for them to share a social and artistic experience with their local community. And Portland, which continues to be a hub for entrepreneurship, is an ideal next destination to expand Pinot’s Palette,” said Charles Willis, co-founder and president of Pinot’s Palette. “The city provides the perfect upscale demographics to broaden our network and reach growing demand from guests who want a fun night out with the leader in the paint and sip industry.”

According to the International Franchise Association, franchising is predicted to grow by $36 billion in business in 2017. The number of franchise establishments is expected to increase by 1.6 percent to an estimated 744,437 locations. Those locations are expected to provide nearly 7.9 million jobs, up 3.3 percent from 2016.

Pinot’s Palette has expanded quickly to include more than 180 retail establishments open and under development across the U.S. and internationally that offer an exceptional experience for a girl’s night out, date night, or special gathering of friends and family.

Today, Pinot’s Palette is also one of the largest employers for professional artists in America. In 2016, the franchise network saw an increase of 25 percent in submissions to its Master Painting Library where the company has paid out more than $310,000 in royalties to artists and studio owners in its Painting Rewards program since 2010. Andthe business continues to be a masterpiece for people who want to be their own boss and operate single or multiple locations. With a motto of “Paint. Drink. Have Fun.®” the concept has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., MSNBC, CNBC and elsewhere for its growing popularity.

Paws-itively Pawesome Painting Events to Benefit Great Plains SPCA

Kansas City Metro Pinot’s Palette® studios to host Painting It Forward event benefiting area no-kill animal shelter

KANSAS CITY (March 14, 2017) Pinot’s Palette, the world’s fastest-growing paint and sip franchise, invites guests in the Kansas City metro area to paint their “fur-ever” friend during a special Painting It Forward/Project Pet event benefiting the Great Plains SPCA. The event will take place from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, April 9 at all Kansas City area studios – Pinot’s Palette – Olathe (11945 S Strang Line Road), Pinot’s Palette – Leawood (5235 W 116th Place), Pinot’s Palette – Prairie Village (The Village, 6943 Tomahawk Road), Pinot’s Palette – Briar Cliff (4165 N Mulberry Drive)and Pinot’s Palette – Lawrence (721 Wakarusa Drive #103).

During the events, guests will enjoy lively music and sip their favorite beverage while painting a portrait of their beloved pet. Artists lead guests step-by-step in creating their pet portrait inspired by a treasured photo of their companion. And similarly, the artist at each studio will paint a different Great Plains SPCA pet that is currently up for adoption. That special demonstration painting will then go home with that pet when it finds a new home.

“We are excited to partner with Pinot’s Palette on this fun event and raise money for our innovative programs that promote adoption, outreach, veterinary care, and a better life for pets,” said Nate Meador, Great Plains SPCA Interim President. “The SPCA currently serves more than 35,000 needy pets annually in the Kansas City area and we truly value our partnerships with local businesses to help us raise awareness of our mission.”

The cost to participate in this event is $60, which includes a $10 donation going towards the Great Plains SPCA. Once registered, guests will need to send an email with a high-resolution photo of their pet to their selected studio, where the photo will be transferred to a 16″x20″ canvas. The reservation deadline is 5 p.m. Sunday, March 26.

Pinot’s Palette® Named 2017 Best Buy in Exclusive Franchise Times Ranking

New consumer-focused Zor Awards program launches, recognizing 10 laudable franchise brands to consider in 2017

HOUSTON (March 2, 2017) – Pinot’s Palette has been named a best buy in franchising in the Cheap Seats category by Franchise Times as part of its new Zor Awards program, intended to recognize brands in 10 of the industry’s most exciting categories.

Designed to answer the question, “What’s the best franchise to buy?”, the Zor Awards is a new industry-exclusive awards program appearing in the March 2017 issue of Franchise Times. With a goal of introducing prospective franchisees to a few favored categories, based on their individual preferences and style, the Zor Awards aids individuals exploring franchising by showing them how to make a selection using an astute business mindset.

“We are thrilled to have Pinot’s Palette recognized as a best franchise to buy in the Cheap Seats category,” said Craig Ceccanti, Co-Founder and CEO of Pinot’s Palette. “Our outstanding franchisees work extremely hard to represent the premium paint and sip experience that is taking the world by storm, and we have a great team to support them behind the scenes.”

The Franchise Times editorial staff selected 10 industry categories designed to reflect industry momentum and appealing segments within franchising. This year’s categories include the following: Personal Wellness, Drive-Thru Classics, Better Burgers, Fast-Casual Pizza, Dog vs. Cat People, Hands On, Fixer Upper, Cheap Seats, Feel Like a Kid Again, and New Wave Medical. Finalists were drawn from the Franchise Times Top 200+ database, which is a 20-year-old research tool, covering more than 650 U.S.-based franchise systems.

After identifying contenders for each category, Franchise Times removed brands that did not publicly provide key information about profitability and overall financial performance, as well as brands that are not currently expanding inside the United States. Beyond that, the research team examined six key financial metrics pulled from each brand’s franchise disclosure document, with a focus on profitability for the franchisee. That process also included editorial examination of management teams, product or service offerings, unit openings and closings, recent litigation, and financial backing of the brand.

As the final pillar, Franchise Times hosted online voting from mid-December to mid-January to reflect industry enthusiasm. This third metric received thousands of reader votes and was used as a tiebreaker to determine the final winners.


Below is the final list of winners of the 2017 Franchise Times Zor Awards by category:

Cheap Seats: Pinot’s Palette

Personal Wellness: Orangetheory Fitness

Drive-Thru Classics: Dairy Queen

Better Burgers: Burger 21

Fast-Casual Pizza: Blaze Pizza

Dog vs. Cat People: Dogtopia

Hands On: Weed Man

Fixer Upper: Tailored Living

Feel Like a Kid Again: Sky Zone

New Wave Medical: American Family Care


Pinot’s Palette® Named a 2017 Best-in-Category Top Franchise by Franchise Business Review

Independent Survey Ranks Pinot’s Palette Highest for Franchisee Satisfaction out of Paint and Sip Studios and named Best in Category Among Top 200 Franchise Brands

HOUSTON (February 23, 2017) – Pinot’s Palette was recently named Best-in-Category within Sports & Recreation by Franchise Business Review in its 2017 Top Franchises Report, making it the top ranked paint and sip in franchisee satisfaction on the list.

A pioneer of the paint and sip entertainment category Pinot’s Palette has put an artistic spin on traditional girls’ night out, date night and corporate events by creating a social experience that combines guests’ favorite cocktails and snacks with an opportunity to create their own masterpiece. Headquartered in Houston, Pinot’s Palette was co-founded in 2009 when Charles Willis opened his first paint and sip studio with his wife Beth, and friend-turned-business partner Craig Ceccanti. The business took off, and so did interest from people who wanted to own and operate their own locations. Pinot’s Palette has been ranked number one in the paint and sip category for four years in a row.

Franchise Business Review, a national franchise market research firm that performs independent surveys of franchisee satisfaction, provides the only rankings of franchises based solely on actual franchisee satisfaction and performance. Franchise Business Review publishes its rankings of top franchises in it’s annual Guide to Today’s Top Franchises, as well as in special reports throughout the year that name the top franchises in specific sectors.

Pinot’s Palette was among 334 franchise brands, representing over 30,000 franchise owners, that participated in Franchise Business Review’s research, which was conducted between May 2015 and November 2016. Pinot’s Palette franchisees were surveyed on 33 benchmark questions in the areas of financial opportunity, training and support, leadership, operations and product development, core values (e.g., honesty and integrity of franchisor), general satisfaction, and the franchisee community. An additional 16 questions asked franchisees about their market area, demographics, business lifestyle, overall enjoyment running their franchise, and role in the franchisee community.

Pinot’s Palette, which was reviewed by 90 franchisees, received an overall average rating of 4.4 out of 5.

“We are incredibly honored to have Pinot’s Palette recognized within such a respected

list,” said Charles Willis, Co-Founder and President of Pinot’s Palette. “Our outstanding franchisees work extremely hard to represent the premium paint and sip experience that is taking the world by storm, and we have a great team to support them behind the scenes.”

“Franchises that survey their franchisees realize that transparency and openness contributes to a trusting relationship,” says Eric Stites, CEO of Franchise Business Review. “Franchisee satisfaction ratings show you whether or not a franchise opportunity is really as good as it appears and fits your values and vision by providing insight into a system’s culture, training, leadership, financial outlook, franchisee community, and much more.”

Following are key findings from Pinot’s Palette’s franchisee satisfaction benchmark report:

  • 92% are satisfied with the Pinot’s Palette Franchisee Community
  • 87.9% are satisfied with Pinot’s Palette Leadership
  • 87.9% support Pinot’s Palette Core Values
  • 85.1% are satisfied with the Pinot’s Palette Franchise System

Put Aside Digital Distractions and Reconnect at Pinot’s Palette®

World’s fastest-growing paint and sip chain invites guests to “Disconnect to Reconnect” with animated video

HOUSTON (February 16, 2017)  – In 2016, The Nielson report stated that the average American spent more than 10 hours per day on electronic devices, an overall increase of one hour from 2015. Ahead of National Unplugging Day on March 3rd, Pinot’s Palette is urging everyone to trade in TV screens and mobile devices for an evening of playful painting. The world’s fastest-growing paint and sip destination has unveiled a new animated video that invites the public to “Disconnect to Reconnect” –

The video features a young couple, living in a world filled with digital distractions, who find themselves exhausted, disconnected and lonely. Tired of taking each other for granted, they discover a fun and meaningful connection by trading in their distractions for paintbrushes to enjoy an evening at Pinot’s Palette.

“I was taken aback by the amount of time the average adult spends on their digital devices- and I’m just as guilty as the rest.I used to do household chores with earphones in, but one day my wife asked me to take them out because she felt disconnected. I was missing out on the family moments that happen organically during daily tasks,” said Craig Ceccanti, Co-Founder and CEO of Pinot’s Palette. “Now more than ever our lives are tethered to digital distractions and this campaign is one way to encourage all of us to pay better attention to the things that matter. Pinot’s Palette is in the business of connecting people- our studios are a place to come to meet new people, share ideas, bond with friends or a loved one, and truly unplug for an evening.”

To help spread this message, Pinot’s Palette is partnering with national and local influencers to encourage their readers to disconnect to reconnect. The campaign will be promoted through a variety of channels including social media sharing with #DisconnectToReconnect, a national YouTube pre-roll ad campaign and franchisee engagement by showing the video in studios before class and during breaks. National and local studio blog promotions, social media use and newsletters will also be used.

“We plan to continue to share the Disconnect to Reconnect message beyond National Unplugging Day as we think it’s that important,” said Terri McCulloch, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Pinot’s Palette. “We recognize that living online takes away from the emotional-side of the relationship that thrives on personal interaction and commitment. Our message is to put down the technology and reconnect, even if just for a few hours, to grow and strengthen relationships.”


Pinot’s Palette Celebrates Milestone Year of Development in 2016

  • Studios opened in all Top 20 U.S. DMAs
  • 100th opening celebrated in Chicago
  • First international location opened in Toronto
  • Company rebranded
  • Launched a nationwide Pinot Perks customer rewards program
  • Headquarters expanded and 8 new staff positions added 
  • Added a Customer Service Center for private and public event booking

HOUSTON (January 31, 2017) – Pinot’s Palette painted a successful business picture in 2016. Celebrating another year of franchise expansion, the fastest-growing paint and sip chain in North America celebrated the opening of its 100th location in Chicago. It now has locations in all of the top 20 DMAs in the U.S. The largest growth was in California, with a total of eight new locations, followed by continued expansion in New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Pinot’s Palette also opened its first international studio in Toronto and is projected to open its first location in Hawaii later this year.

“It was another year of exciting growth for Pinot’s Palette,” said CEO and Co-Founder Craig Ceccanti. “We reached new milestones with our national and international presence. We continue to push the boundaries of the premium paint and sip experience with a fantastic team of amazing franchisees and the most dedicated corporate staff.”

The brand rolled out a fresh logo to fit the artistic elements of the company’s values, expanded office space at corporate headquarters, and added eight new staff positions to the corporate team to further support franchisees and customers. The company reaffirmed its dedication to customer satisfaction by adding the Pinot Perk Rewards Program. Pinot Perks allows customers to earn corks to receive free classes, special offers, and merchandise. Pinot’s Palette also introduced the Customer Service Center (CSC) to assist customers with booking private parties and public painting events.

In 2016, Pinot’s Palette saw a 25 percent increase in paintings submitted to the Master Painting Library. Since the introduction of the MPL in 2010, the company has paid out more than $280,000 to artists and studio owners in Painting Rewards.

The business also continued to reap honors and awards throughout the year. Pinot’s Palette was named to the Inc. 5000 list for the first time in company history and was the only paint and sip franchise to make the list. Co-founders Craig Ceccanti, Charles Willis, and Beth Willis were also named to the LSU 100, honoring top businesses founded or run by graduates of Louisiana State University, for the second year. Following those accolades, Pinot’s Palette was also named to Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list for 2017 and was also recently named Best-in-Category by Franchise Business Review in its 2017 Top Franchises Report. This ranks the company the top paint and sip for franchisee satisfaction.