When Mike and Mary Ray, owners of Campbell’s Paint and Wallpaper, sit down at eight tonight to watch “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story” on TNT, they’ll be paying less attention to the performance of Academy Award-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and focusing more on the details around him. Specifically, the paint used throughout the movie’s sets. After all, it came from their store.
“Mike got a call from someone at Sony Pictures in September,” Mary recalls. “At first, he totally discounted it. Thought it was a scam. But a day later, Frank and Monk, the crew painters from Chicago, walked into my store. They were great guys and opened an account for the movie that day.”
Clearly, Frank and Monk made a great choice. Mike and Mary have owned Campbell’s Paint and Wallpaper for 30 years and the store has continually offered top quality paints like Benjamin Moore and Sikkens. Best of all, Mike, Mary and their staff have genuine expertise when it comes to wallpaper and paint, so customers leave with the right product and the know-how to use it.
The ‘Gifted Hands’ production used a home in Detroit for the location, and completely repainted the interiors to the set designer’s specifications. “The production ended up buying a substantial amount of paint from us,” Mary said. “Frank and Monk were incredible to work with. They were very professional. They knew what they wanted, and placed orders daily. The billing process was also very professional--we got paid very quickly. Frank told us that this was ‘just a made-for-TV-movie’ and that the amount of paint that they purchased paled when compared to the amount of paint purchased for a full-length feature film.”
The Rays not only supplied the production crew with paint, they served as ambassadors to the entire Dearborn/Detroit area. “We recommended the best places in town for them to go,” Mary remembers. “We told them to go to Millers for a burger, Bangkok 96 for Thai food, Mi Pueblo for Mexican and La Pita for Middle Eastern. They loved La Pita so much, we suggested they visit Warren Avenue, which they did. We also recommended Westborn Fruit Market and Dearborn Farm Market if they should become tired of eating out. They regularly frequented both locations.”
The experience was an eye-opener for Mary, as she learned what a profound economic impact a single production can have on the community, “I quickly realized that the trickle down effect of the movie business was massive. Even the local laundromat received a business boost because these guys were in town. They’re a substantial number of people in town, spending money on all of their everyday needs; the grocery store, the drug store, everything.”
Since the wrap of the “Gifted Hands” production, Sony has returned to Campbell’s to buy paint for the set of a Lifetime channel movie called “America,” starring Rosie O’Donnell. It’s all great news for a couple who have a long history of championing local businesses, and a sure sign that movie production is not just a boon for our state, but our own backyard.
Visit Campbell’s Paint and Wallpaper at 904 Mason, just north of Michigan Avenue, or give them a call at 313-562-3500.