Tambour hopes to paint the town

By Amy Tennery | February 15, 2010 11:57AM

Since the financial downturn, a number of brands — mostly large, mostly discount — have been making a splash on the New York City retail real estate scene.

East River Plaza has carved out a place for big-box companies in Manhattan. Nordstrom Rack turned heads when it announced it would open its first Manhattan location — in Union Square no less. And the Columbus Square retail center, an inconspicuous corner of the Upper West Side, has welcomed big names like Michael’s crafts.

Onto the New York City retail scene comes Tambour, the largest Israeli paint company, little-known on this side of the Atlantic.

The company plans to open 11 stores in the New York City metro area this year, including possible locations on Long Island and in Jersey City.

Ehud Felus, the company CEO who is also overseeing the opening of Tambour’s U.S. operations, said the first three stores will open March 11. The locations include two Brooklyn stores, one at 10 Jay Street and another on Coney Island, and one 4,000-square-foot showroom at 255 West 36th Street.

While the New York City stores will mark the first U.S. locations for Tambour, Felus said that the financial climate made this the ideal time to open several stores.

“I’m sorry about the market situation but in a [financial downturn] such as this, there is opportunity,” Felus said.

Tambour, which counts Benjamin Moore as its main U.S. competitor, is in talks with the city to become the exclusive paint-supplier for an upcoming bridge project. Udi declined to provide specific information on which bridge, saying only that “it’s a big deal.” The mayor’s press office was not immediately available for comment.

It currently has paint supply contracts with a 130,000-square-foot office building at 130 William Street, and 302 East 45th Street, a building near the United Nations.

Tambour plans to go bi-costal soon, with the opening of a Los Angeles store planned for May.