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Phil Ryan, left, and his son, John, offer a wide variety of paint, stain and wallpaper at Premier Paint and Wallpaper. The store recently moved to its current Madison location after 19 years in McFarland. 

If you’ve ever started a painting project only to realize that the paint isn’t covering completely, or it’s hard to work with, a visit to Premier Paint and Wallpaper could resolve these headaches.

Phil Ryan and his son, John, own Premier Paint and Wallpaper. Phil managed paint stores for 20 years before opening Premier in 1996. His first job after graduating from Mankato State College in Minnesota was as an assistant manager at a paint store. Now, 62, Phil is the president at Premier.

John, 29, is the vice president. He worked summers at Premier since age 14. He attended UW-Stevens Point for a degree in business.

John’s plan after college was that he would bring the knowledge that he gained back to the paint store. He’s worked full-time at Premier for seven years.

As one of the last of the truly independent paint stores in Dane County, the Ryans share their knowledge about the paint and stains with their customers.

“Most paint stores only carry a single brand of paint,” Phil said. “We carry seven brands, plus nine brands of exterior stains. These options give the customers choices.”

Pratt and Lambert, PPG Pittsburgh, Mythic and Graham are some of the paint brands carried at Premier. Sikkens, Sashco and Pratt and Lambert are three of the nine exterior stains carried there.

Because their customers are concerned about the environment, Premier carries two zero volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints. They also carry non-toxic paints.

Premier stocks about 250 wallpaper books. Customers at Premier range from professional painters to homeowners.

John Ryan said he and his father pride themselves on giving helpful, expert, customer service.

For the first 19 years, the business was located in McFarland. Now, it is technically in Madison after recently moving to a new spot on Voges Road, less than half a mile from its previous location. The staff includes Phil and John Ryan and Roger Pierson, a part-time employee who has been with the business for 10 years.

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In the Family Business appears on the first Tuesday of each month. To suggest a family-owned business to feature, contact Jill Carlson at