Painting With a Twist owners mother and daughter Patrice, left, and Ashley Thornton, right stand outside of their establishment.
Painting with a Twist began in 2007 when two women wanted to make a difference in their community during Hurricane Katrina. With humble beginnings, the franchise has grown to more than 300 locations across the country. In Detroit, a local mother-daughter duo has become the newest owners of a Painting with a Twist franchise in downtown Detroit.
Purchasing the building from its previous owner, Donna Lewis, in April 2021, Patrice and Ashley Thornton wanted to enter into business for themselves while also building an avenue of wealth for their family.
“We have always talked about owning some type of family business and coming together to create generational wealth. Both her and I have painted at Painting with a Twist numerous times prior to us purchasing the studio, we’ve had birthday parties there. When I received an email stating the Detroit location was for sale, I took that information to my mother and presented the opportunity and we both thought it was something we were very interested in,” says daughter Ashley.
Though the pair are not professionally trained artists, they wanted to be a part of Detroit’s continued resurgence. Choosing to enhance their natural knack for event planning, the two embarked on a journey to becoming business owners.
“We are not artists, but we do like to plan events. That’s what she [Ashley] does for her job now. I dabbled in event planning with friends helping to do baby showers and whatnot,” says Patrice. “Basically, that’s what Painting with a Twist is; it’s a painting and sip event.”
Wanting to add their own personal touch to the studio, the duo used the first months of ownership to renovate the space. In addition, the two brushed up on the skills needed to run the painting studio. Patrons will be able to take part in a more intimate-style setting as the space was minimized.
“We’ve done tons and tons of research. We walked to the Small Business Association, trying to figure out the best way to get funding, talking to current and previous franchisees. We wanted to hear from franchisees who were no longer doing it and wanted to know why,” says Patrice. “The studio itself needed to be renovated. We decided we wanted to scale it down a little bit.”
Detroit’s onward movement into a sound economic future has been, in large part, thanks to the small business community. Through entrepreneurship, Detroit has been able to reclaim its economic prowess thrusting more minorities into small business ownership and continuing to grow the economic mobility in the city.
“I was raised in Detroit, grew up in Detroit and now I see Detroit as being this vibrant city. I’ve been able to witness the comeback. When I was a teenager, we didn’t go downtown and walk around. It wasn’t vibrant,” says Ashley. “Being a part of that is important to me and it’s something that was the icing on the cake. To be able to be a part of the community and the city that I was raised in, and to be a part of bringing that community and city back together.”
While Detroit is known for its iconic nightlife as well as its homegrown sports teams, the city is also a place for growing families to indulge in their neighborhood. For owners Patrice and Ashley, providing the community an alternative to its usual hustle and bustle is another reason the women wanted to infuse themselves into the fabric of downtown Detroit.
“I think that there needs to be something else down there that’s more family-friendly and that the folks that live down there, the actual residents, can just walk out and go do something on a Saturday. I’m glad to be a part of that growth,” says Patrice. “Having other things besides sports and nightlife are important.”
The studio is located at 1420 Washington Blvd, Detroit, and is now accepting clients for their painting experience.