Frank Cava, founder and principal of Cava Companies, a comprehensive real estate and property management firm, knew he needed H.J. Holtz & Son as the finishing touches were being added to his firm’s new headquarters.

“I didn’t want to pay to do it multiple times; I wanted to pay to do it once,” Cava says.

Cava had been introduced to the Holtz team through Avery Sefcik, a local designer and friend who was working with Cava and his wife in their personal home. “Avery had recommended Rick, telling me he’s not the cheapest, but he’s the best,” Cava says.

In the Cava residence, the Holtz team executed a variety of techniques, including paint, decorative finishes and lacquer. After seeing what was possible, Cava decided to hire the company again to create a dramatic office space for him, and to paint doors and trim, which are noticed and take a lot of abuse.

“I’ve been around painters for years,” Cava says. “The thing that caused me to use Holtz more than once is the process. They show up on time; they do an incredibly great job; and they clean up after themselves.

“For me, painting is like making sausage,” he adds. “It’s delicious when it’s finished, but the process is messy. The Holtz process isn’t.”

For his office, Cava selected Sherwin-Williams Bunglehouse Blue, a deep blue with gray undertones. The Holtz team painted every inch of the room, including a wall filled with shelves and cabinets. The effect is exactly what Cava was looking for.

“People come into my office and say ‘Wow,’” Cava says, grinning.

The Holtz team also painted an entryway in a separate Cava Companies building, a space featuring architectural design Cava describes as 1960s Eastern Bloc.

“I wanted [the foyer] to pop without ripping the stairs out, to unlock the hidden beauty of the building,” he says. “Most of what we do is restore and rehab and bring luster to forgotten-about properties. This is where it’s so critical to call someone with Holtz’ quality. They’ve been in business so long, they’ve seen it all and done it all.”

Cava says he appreciates the professionalism that the Holtz team brings to projects.

“Construction is a very complicated process, and the painting usually happens toward the end when you’re out of money and behind schedule,” he notes. “What’s great about Holtz is they’re able to work with you, often in a compromised work space, and give you an incredibly great product while being flexible. They talk to you and communicate when there’s a problem, and there’s always a problem. They give you the power to make decisions on your projects.

“I try to add value to my customers’ experience, to provide them with great service so they can’t not call me,” he adds. “What I notice with Rick [Holtz] is that I can’t not call Rick. He’s going to provide me with a level of service that I know is certain and is the best possible I can get. This is why we’ll continue to use them in the future.”



Nancy Hartt called on H.J. Holtz & Son when she opened her fashion boutique eight years ago for painting and wallpapering. It was only logical that she would call on the Holtz team again for a recent refresh.

“They’re the most trustworthy people of all time,” she says. “They are accommodating, and if something goes wrong, [company president] Rick [Holtz] has someone here within 24 hours.”

Hartt’s shop, Nellie George – named for her French bulldogs – opened with a floor painted in a hexagonal pattern, a custom design executed by Holtz painters. “We have not had to retouch that floor in eight years,” Hartt says. “People and dogs are on it all the time. There’s very high foot traffic, and it looks terrific.”

Recently, Hartt decided to shift the color scheme of the shop from blue to pink, which included a haven for her bulldogs. “We have a cute little dog bed that was blue, and now it’s pink,” she says. “It’s this lovely pink pagoda dog bed; people comment on that all the time.”

A second doorway at the rear of the store provides access to parking and is often used by customers. Holtz painters touched up the rear hallway and nearby dressing rooms in crisp white to make the space more inviting. “We needed to lighten that up a bit,” Hartt says.

Hartt was well acquainted with the Holtz team even before she opened her business. “Holtz has been helping my family in our houses since before I was born,” she says. “They are awesome.”

Another useful aspect of having the Holtz team in her shop, Hartt says, is their understanding of her needs as a business owner.

“We’re a commercial space, and we need to be open for customers,” she says. “Guys would come in at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. to make sure the paint was dry before we opened for the day. That means so much. They are worth every penny.”



Remember how hard it was to find toilet paper, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes in spring 2020?

The same forces that led to runs on basic supplies a year ago – increased demand and blockages in the supply chain – are now driving significant increases in paint cost. H.J. Holtz & Son President Rick Holtz says it’s been hard to watch the steady climb.

“One paint company has raised prices 13% this year,” Holtz says. “Consumers are seeing that in stores, and we see it, too, when we go to buy from our suppliers.”

According to, which reports on the painting trade, the worldwide paint supply was hit early on by lockdowns and business closures, just as other industries were. Once businesses were allowed to reopen, a shortage of containers made it hard for paint to actually be moved from manufacturing sites to distribution locations.

Other problems in the supply chain can be traced to issues at specific plants. Facilities manufacturing epoxy resins in China and Korea experienced fire and other fabrication problems, which halted and slowed production. The Institute of Coating Technologies, a Greek organization that monitors the worldwide industry, noted in February 2021 that nearly all the raw materials involved in the coating industry increased in price. With raw materials responsible for more than 50% of the cost of paint, a hike in component prices drive the final cost up.

Then, in February 2021, a deep freeze in Texas shut down the approximately 150 petrochemical facilities in the Houston region for three days. According to Vertical Research Partners, a Connecticut equity research firm, the cold snap took three-quarters of the ethylene production capacity offline for days. Ethylene is a component of paint, used to improve flow and stability, and enhance application properties.

On top of supply and manufacturing challenges, demand for paint has soared. Homeowners spending more time than usual in their spaces have turned to paint to comfort and inspire. Thanks to low interest rates, home sales hit a 14-year high in 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors. New homes need paint, and older homes going on the market often get a fresh coat, too.

“We hear from clients every day how important their homes are to them now,” Holtz says. “We love being able to help people make their spaces feel fresh and new.”



Sometimes, it really is who you know.

As medical director of CrossOver Healthcare Ministry, Mike Murchie, M.D., helps people access essential medical care that would otherwise be out of reach, everything from basic checkups to obstetrics, to vision and dental care. With two clinics in the Richmond region – one on Cowardin Avenue on the South Side and one on Quioccasin Road in the western end of Henrico County – CrossOver treated nearly 7,000 unique individuals in fiscal year 2019.

Murchie also happens to live in the same neighborhood as Rick Holtz, president of H. J. Holtz & Son. Knowing that the company often tackles commercial painting projects, he approached his neighbor with a favor request.

“The exterior of our downtown clinic needed to be painted,” Murchie says. “The dignity and grace of the services provided inside didn’t match the exterior. I said to Rick, ‘Hey, this might be a big ask,’ but he agreed without hesitation.

“I was floored and highly appreciative,” Murchie adds. “They donated not only labor, but paint and supplies. It’s been incredible.”

Megan Mann, CrossOver’s director of resource development and communications, says H. J. Holtz & Son coordinated with James Herbert, owner of Envirowash, which donated power-washing of the clinic’s exterior. Then came conversations with Jack Long, regional sales manager for Sherwin-Williams, who contributed the paint, free of charge. Group conversations over the appropriate hue included a CrossOver mental health counselor for a color that would “pop” without being garish. The choice: Sherwin-Williams Bracing Blue, a modern blue-gray shade that stands out among neighboring buildings.

“With COVID, there’s an added stress to everyone,” Mann says. “Not all our volunteers have been able to return [to the clinic], so our paid staff have been strapped. This is not only beneficial for our patients, but really a morale booster for the staff.”

As a final touch: H. J. Holz & Son decorative artists painted the CrossOver logo on the side of the building, providing a visual point of interest. “Rick suggested the logo,” Mann says. “We didn’t even know that was an option. That was an extra layer of excitement.”

In addition to lifting spirits, the fresh paint serves a practical purpose: attracting attention.

“I say all the time that we’re the best-kept secret in Richmond,” Mann says. “We don’t want to be that. We want to be found by our clients and providers and volunteers. This new color is going to make it so much easier for people to find us.”

Murchie says the need for CrossOver’s services has increased during the pandemic, even as offering care safely became more challenging. “The people we serve are among the lowest-income people in our community,” he says. “They’re hard-working and [hold] a lot of frontline jobs – landscaping, cashiering, cleaning – where teleworking isn’t an option. And they still need routine medical care, as well as care for chronic issues like high blood pressure and diabetes. We were very committed to staying open [during the pandemic] and adapt our model so we can continue to provide high-quality care.”

Mann says as CrossOver looks toward its 30th anniversary next year, she is thankful for the contributions of H. J. Holtz & Son. “They’re a big part of making the clinic even better than it already is.”



Professional meetings and conferences are where people go to learn from others in the same field: what works, what doesn’t, what to do. Through workshops and casual conversations, tips and tools of the trade are revealed and shared.

Last fall’s annual convention of the Middle Atlantic Council of the Painting Contractors Association (PCA) gave attendees the opportunity to hear from H.J. Holtz & Son painting company president Rick Holtz and his business coach, Bill Silverman. The two spoke in a session titled “Transforming from Plateaued and Frustrated to Growing a Profitable, Smooth-running Business.”

Anita Dallas, executive vice president of the Middle Atlantic Council PCA, says the presentation was beneficial to association members because Holtz and Silverman’s collaboration is obviously succeeding.

“Rick didn’t inherit his business; he worked in the business and purchased it,” she says. “He’s made it his painting company and did it with [Silverman’s] help.”

Over the last seven years, H.J. Holtz & Son has more than doubled in business volume, and the workshop used that growth as a case study for attendees to see how an owner can seek and accept input from a business coach.

“As the company got bigger, and we all got busier, I couldn’t be everywhere at once,” Holtz says. “I needed help in creating a team that I could trust to identify what needs to be done and to do that in a way that helps everyone be successful. That’s when I turned to Bill.”

Holtz says he was happy to speak because the gathering is about sharing experiences – both good and bad.

“I learn from others,” he says. “I’m happy to talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for us. All of us who go are there to learn.”

It’s important for the conference to have practical instruction for attendees, Dallas says.

“Many guys come from being painters and then start their own businesses, but they don’t [think about] all the details that had been hidden…all the overhead costs, like trucks, gas, phone,” she says. “This gets their eyes opened.”

Holtz, who has spoken at the conference before, is a favorite, she says, adding that another presenter shortened his session so he could hear Holtz.

“He really didn’t want to miss Rick’s seminar,” Dallas says.



Oscar Ayala, who has just celebrated 10 years of employment with H.J. Holtz & Son, believes that part of doing a job well is doing it neatly.

“I always like to have everything nice – how everyone looks, how they work,” he says. “I want each job to be the best.”

Ayala’s position as foreman means he coordinates project details between the main office and the work site, managing the site and handling unforeseen developments that necessitate quick responses.

“Sometimes, there are differences [to navigate,] but we always figure it out,” he says.

One recent project that featured distinctive challenges was the Cedar Works apartment building, in Richmond’s Rocketts Landing neighborhood. The building, which had been part of a multi-structure manufacturing complex, was renovated and restyled with upscale apartments that featured bare brick walls and wood support beams.

Ayala spearheaded the painting of the building’s six levels (five residential floors and the basement), which necessitated working around the historic wood beams – some of which are said to have markings left by workers more than 100 years ago – and steering clear of exposed ceiling duct work.

Despite the obstacles, and residents, who were eager to see the project completed, Ayala says the job was a delight.

“I always like a big job because we get to work in one place for a while,” he says. “We do have to clean it every day – because people live there – but it was a good job. We just worked around everything.”

Ayala had worked as a painter for six years before coming to the company at the encouraging of several friends, who were then working for H.J. Holtz & Son. Even though Ayala was already an experienced painter, he had to learn the “Holtz ways” of doing things, he says. He was quickly promoted to foreman because of his ability to coordinate multiple tasks and keep projects on schedule.

“This company is one of the best in Richmond, and the painters are good to work with,” he says. Ayala says he enjoys his work because it’s always changing. “Every day, we learn something different,” he says, adding that he keeps abreast of new paints and techniques through videos and product classes.

In the end, he says, he enjoys both leading a team as well as delivering a finished project that will satisfy the client, noting “We want to make sure everything looks good.”