Coffee and a Chat with Leonard Shanahan  Co – Director of Shanahan Paints

Tell us where did it all start?  My Father was a 4th generation painting contractor and had a few painters working for him back in the 60’s. My 2 brothers Cornelius and Kieran joined the business (now the 5th generation contractors) who run the contracting side of the business to this day. My father had a few people calling to our house looking for a small bit gloss or emulsion paint and he used to give it to them from his shed at the back of the house where he stored paints left over from contract jobs. My mother and father saw the opportunity to sell paints to work alongside the contracting business. In 1972 they built on a store at the back of the house to cater for retail and it has grown from there.

My 3 brothers Kieran, Fergus, Cornelius and myself continue to run the business.

How many brothers and sisters do you have and where do you come in the family?

6 Brothers and 3 Sisters. I’m the youngest (The Baby)

What do you most enjoy about your role?

Leonard Shanahan

  • Being part of a team that is continuing to build on what my parents started.
  •  Offering the advice and the know how to our customers with the best quality product on offer.
  • Keeping up and learning about the new trends and products from our suppliers.  (It’s a job that you never stop learning.)
  • Enjoy meeting our customers and helping them in their decorating project and enjoy meeting a few characters along the way.

Obviously over the years Shanahan Paints has faced many challenges in the business, is Covid-19 one of the biggest to date?

For me yes Covid -19 is the biggest challenge in my time, in the business. My mother & father and their generation would have talked about the business coming through 2 or 3 recessions and that was in different times but I think Covid -19 will be the one people will talk about when looking back as one of the most difficult.

Styles have changed over the years, what’s your preferred style Traditional or Modern?


Did you take on any projects during lockdown in your home?

Nothing big as paint was in high demand in the lockdown and were lucky enough to be allowed trade with in the (Covid restrictions) so I was working all the way through. I painted a few flower pots and I sanded and re-oiled our garden bench which was very satisfying as this became our chill out space in the garden in the nice evenings after work, sitting out on it during the lockdown.

Best advice when choosing colour?

Always test the colour first and take into consideration the back ground you test the colour on as the colour reacts differently to lighter or darker back grounds.

Dogs or cats? Think we know the answer to this one …


Favourite lockdown food?


Favourite sport?


How do you unwind?

I like to Cook.

A walk with my dog.

A round of Golf.

What country would you like to visit when we can all travel safely again?

Holiday: Italy

Weekend break: Edinburgh