Paint Scene—April, 2017

By The Paint Dealer,


PPG, Akzo Nobel, Haggle Over Acquisition

PPG, originally rebuffed in its attempt to acquire AkzoNobel, has reiterated its invitation to AkzoNobel to explore its proposal to form a combined company. PPG states that it continues to believe that a combination of the two companies has a strong strategic rationale and also that it presents a highly compelling and unique opportunity for both of them.


PPG, the world’s largest coatings company, made an initial offer of about $22 billion to buy its largest competitor in early March. Dutch company AkzoNobel refused the proposal outright, saying it undervalued the company and did not take into account a number of intangibles. Less than two weeks later, PPG returned with a $26 billion offer, which was also declined.

AkzoNobel has said that both offers from PPG failed to address several major concerns, including that the acquisition as proposed would require “a large number of substantial divestitures due to the major geographical and segment overlap of both companies across decorative paints and performance coatings, bringing into question value leakage.”

The Dutch company also voiced concerns about research and development, sustainability efforts, community contribution and a “significant culture gap” between the companies.

“We made a compelling offer to AkzoNobel that provides its shareholders with a significant premium and the opportunity to benefit from the upside potential of a stronger company that is well positioned for future growth and value creation,” said Michael McGarry, PPG Chairman and CEO. “Together, we can create a stronger company that will benefit all of AkzoNobel’s stakeholders, including its Netherlands-based employees,”

Although AkzoNobel has declined PPG’s invitations to meet, PPG stated that it remains committed to seeking engagement with AkzoNobel and believes AkzoNobel should honor growing requests to engage and fully consider all relevant options to create the most value for all of its stakeholders, as well as benefit from the multiple months of preparation already completed by PPG.

“The feedback we have received in the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S. further validates the merits of combining PPG and AkzoNobel,” McGarry said. “We are now even more convinced that this is in the best interests of all stakeholders of AkzoNobel.”

PPG has stated its commitment to address several areas of importance previously identified by AkzoNobel, such as continuing commitments to research and development, honoring existing employment terms of employees and social plans, locating key businesses in Europe and in the Netherlands, maintaining important public-private partnerships, and further strengthening community investments and commitments to sustainability and social responsibility.

PPG calls the two companies a “strong cultural fit” with a “history of strong performance” and “commitment to employees, research and development, and community.”


New Value for True Value

True Value Company, one of the world’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperatives, reported total gross billings up 2.0 percent ($40.5 million) compared to the prior year. Revenue was an increase of 1.1 percent ($16.9 million).

Total retail comparable store sales were up 2.5 percent with increases across eleven of the twelve regions in the country and six of nine merchandise categories, led by Farm & Ranch, Auto, Pet, Lawn & Garden, and Paint.

“True Value is two years into executing a plan that will serve our retailers’ needs and ensure their long-term growth and profitability, making them relevant for generations to come,” said President and CEO John Hartmann. “We have broken a nearly decade-long trend of negative net new sales growth. For the past three years, the sales volume from our new stores has exceeded sales from terminated stores.”

  Filed under: Departments, Paint Scene
  Comments: None

Mark My Words—April, 2017

By Mark Lipton,


Contributing Writer

Will Your Store Divorce You? Not With These Tips!

Every time I think I understand the women in my life, they find some way to send me a reminder that says, “Mark, you just don’t get it!” In the case of my ex-wife, it was a process server who handed me that reminder! Despite my experiences, I still like to honor tradition, so like the rest of us, I like to refer to beloved items as if they were women. Your boat? “She’s a fine one!” That BMW in your driveway? “She’s got quite a ride!”

What about the paint stores in your life? I have never heard an independent paint retailer refer to his stores as “his ladies,” yet don’t they deserve the respect that we give our wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters? In my travels through the realm of independent paint retailers, I find that we run the gamut in terms of how we treat our “ladies.” Some stores are lovingly cared for and treated with respect while others spend every day feeling like a Sunday afternoon football widow!

There’s a dealer in my market whose store I don’t have need to go into much: I was in there once around 1990. I remember thinking on that last visit: “What a dump!” The store had no sense of organization; minimal effort had been put into properly displaying products, and the displays he did have were mostly empty or not maintained. The store was not even clean! there recently and I was amazed to find out that even at my advanced age, my memory still works perfectly—the store was exactly as I remembered it, right down to the dust on the half empty ready-made mini-blind display. I was not surprised that he told me business had been on a downward slide for the last decade or so.

Paint stores, like everything else in our lives, need maintenance and upkeep. I like to have both short-term and long-term objectives for all significant aspects of my stores including how they are maintained. From a short-term perspective, I give my managers the responsibility for making sure that the stores are clean and that all displays are kept organized as initially designed and well stocked.

By the way, that includes the chip racks, which are the most important display in your store by far!

But how about my long-term objectives of keeping my stores up to date and fresh? Paint stores need to be pleasant shopping experiences. As Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other independents in my market continue their efforts to build a pleasant shopping environment for my customers, I must do the same. Though admittedly a different one from retail customers, even professional painters want a pleasant shopping experience. Long-term plans often require capital investment—I try to put something for that in my yearly budget so when I need it, I have funds available for an upgrade.

We are adding a new line right now that will require adding a new display to one of my stores. It is seven feet, which is no small feat by inner city store standards; it will require a lot of moving around to make it fit and maintain or even enhance our shopping environment. These changes lead to conversations and studies of how much sales or value we are getting out of each display or area of the store. Once that is determined, we can make choices on what we want to eliminate and then see where that leaves us in terms of needing to move a counter, install new flooring, paint (nobody enjoys the irony in a poorly painted paint store) or anything else that may be needed.

Any of the fixture companies that service our industry will help you lay out your store if you want to make some changes. They know that store resets will likely involve fixture upgrades or some other need so they generally don’t charge, hoping to make the sale. Some of the paint manufacturers will help lay out your store for you as well and may even have a program in place to help offset some of your costs. Just be careful that they don’t forget to leave room for a competitor’s color rack!

Each of my stores to me are fine ladies each with her own personality and style. But they both have something in common with the real women in my life: the better I treat them, the better they treat me!


Mark Lipton is the 4th generation owner of in New York City as well as a consultant to the coatings industry. 

  Filed under: Departments, Mark My Words
  Comments: None

Just Say Yes—April, 2017

By Contributing Writer,


Shep Hyken
Contributing Writer

Put Your Store Up For Adaption

Every day I get an email from, a daily publication that is read by thousands of people in the retail industry. It’s the number one forum for discussions about hundreds of important issues in the industry. Now, before we go further, even though focuses on retail, what I’m about to share is relevant to every business in every industry.

A recent article in Retail Wire posed a question about virtual reality and if it will make brick-and-mortar stores less relevant. By the way, if you haven’t experienced virtual reality, you must—it’s incredible! You put on what looks like goggles and you see the most amazing three dimensional images and videos.

Okay, back to answering the question. My response was that virtual reality and augmented reality are just enhanced ways of viewing and experiencing products online. Yes, it will change the way people shop online, but it’s still “virtual.” It’s not real! You can’t touch the material to determine the quality of the brush or roller you’re looking at through a virtual reality headset. You can’t paint with it either. So, how could this technology make physical stores less relevant?


Every Breath You Take, I’ll Be Shopping You

The discussion of physical stores becoming irrelevant has been a topic of conversation for years. The first online purchase was made in 1994. According to a video produced by Shopify, an online shopping software program, the first online transaction was on August 11, 1994 through Dan Kohn’s online startup company when a friend bought a Sting CD over the internet. People said this kind of business would never work; people would never buy online. Well, never say never. Shortly after that Amazon came into the picture, and here we are today.

Adobe’s Research claimed last year’s Black Friday online sales were over $3 billion. Cyber Monday’s sales, just three days later were also over $3 billion. Forrester predicts that by the year 2020, just three years from now, online sales will exceed $523 billion!


The Only Thing to Fear…

So, should retailers be scared? Maybe…because some retailers aren’t willing to change. And there are companies in virtually any industry that aren’t willing to change either. So, here is the lesson: Business—in all industries—is changing. The old saying is true: the only thing that is consistent is change. Get used to it.

Will online stores kill physical stores? Did ATMs eliminate bank tellers? Did “Video Kill the Radio Star” when MTV went live back in 1981? The answers are no, no, and no!

Maybe the consumer is migrating towards more shopping online. It may make a physical store a little less “relevant”—but it doesn’t make the retailer less relevant!

A retailer, just as anyone or any company in business, must adjust and change. What makes a retailer less relevant won’t be because sales are moving from in-store to online. It will be because the retailer doesn’t adapt to the way their customers want to buy. It’s the same for any business. Your customers buying habits are changing. Adapt or watch your business die a slow and painful death. You must be willing to change as your customers change.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert and New York Times bestselling business author.

  Filed under: Departments, Just Say Yes
  Comments: None

Retail Details—April, 2017

By Jerry Rabushka,


Every Day Any Day All the Time Whenever

Small Business Saturday (SBS) came and went last December and it’ll come and go again in 2017, but, says Nicole Reyhle, founder of the website, its positive effect on small business lingers all year long. That’s good for the independent retailer, she said. As an advocate of small business marketing, Reyhle shared her suggestions on how SBS can be a winter springboard to making big gains with folks who like to shop small.

SBS came to life in 2010, and Reyhle, a spokeswoman for the occasion for three years, has done a thorough study on the event and its results. Simply put, raising awareness of Small Business Saturday raises overall awareness of small businesses themselves. “Right now, 72% of U.S. consumers are aware of SBS, which is a test of that ‘shop small’ message,” she said. “This increased awareness extends the message year around. It’s not just that one day, it’s every day, any day, all the time, whenever.

“Shopping small is something that is increasingly more top of mind for customers, in a huge part thanks to Small Business Saturday,” she continued. Even if people don’t buy paint for Christmas, Chanukah, or Festivus, getting your store involved may put you on the radar for when it’s time to recoat. “As customers, we can celebrate SBS, and as business we can celebrate building small and rallying around each other to bring the store and community some attention,” said Reyhle.

The “rally around each other” part is important, she emphasized. You’re not going to have the clout of a national chain that can fit fifteen of your showrooms into its lobby, but if you band together with other non-competitive small businesses, you can hype awareness and increase your customer base. “Work with like-minded but noncompetitive businesses year round to generate more visibility,” she suggests. “If you’re a paint store, you can partner with the local home furnishing store and introduce each other’s customers,” she recommended. “You can leverage off each other’s audience without being competitive and learn from strategies used in SBS to extend those ideas year round.”

Even your customers who know everything might want to learn something, so like many customer service experts, Nicole suggests having how-to events to bring them into your store. The first Saturday of every month, for example, can demo a new technique or product. “Home Depot and Lowe’s are doing some of this, but no one can do it as well as independent retailers. You have the personalized touch and experience,” she acknowledged. And, she continues, don’t forget a loyalty program, often courtesy of your POS system.

“But Nicole,” we asked, “what about you? Since you’re so ‘retail minded,’ what do you look for when you go to a small business, no matter what day of the year?”

Basically, she wants you to make her feel special. “Customer service is number one,” she said. “Product knowledge, service, and brand understanding. If you’re selling brands that are sold at a box, what separates you selling that brand, and how do you clarify the value of purchasing it from your business rather than from someone else? What are you doing to extend beyond the obvious so customers want to lean on you again and again?” For example, something as simple as a list of preferred painters can take a lot of worry off someone’s palette. Not sure what customers want? Ask! “Make it easy and enjoyable and give them a reason to want to return.”

Plus, by investing in you, they’re investing in themselves. “Remind your customers that they are helping support the local economy,” said Reyhle. “Keep that economic strength in the community. Say thank you for supporting small business. It doesn’t hurt to extend the gratitude.”

The Retail Minded website, said Reyhle, while not specific to paint, has many resources for your “business” side. You’re bound to find something that’ll help smooth out some rough edges. “We talk about running a business effectively, merchandising and marketing online, in store, mobile—all these assets.” If you have a passion for paint, but not for as much the ins and outs and wear and tear of running a business, this might be the place to cast anchor. “We look at those types of ideas and make them fun—and easier for retailers to do.”

“How do you clarify the value of purchasing from your business rather than from someone else?”

  Filed under: Departments, Retail Details
  Comments: None

With This Ring

By Jerry Rabushka,

Ring Up More Exterior Sales

In memory of this magazine’s creator Chris Mugler, we occasionally like to do an article based on his founding premise: to help you sell more paint. Since paint suppliers have a pretty strong interest in seeing you succeed, we asked them for a few hints on how you can increase your exterior paint sales. Even a few percentage points can make the difference; it might help you afford that second beach house—or give your staff a raise!

Since painting exterior has some greater challenges than applying an indoor product, there are a few specific selling and stocking strategies that may help you increase your exterior trade. If you try out some of the ideas in this article, let us know the results!


Premium Ideas

“A good strategy to increase exterior paint sales is to encourage customers to trade up to more premium exterior products,” said John Trenta, PPG Senior Marketing Manager, Independent Paint Dealers. “This increases your selling price per gallon and improves your customer’s painting experience by providing better performing product, with benefits that will pay off for years to come.” If your customer’s paint is still standing while their neighbor’s product has turned to chalk and dust, that chalk and dust crowd might just come to you for advice and product.

Remind your customers that in exterior painting, premium is even more important than it is indoors, Trenta continued. “Exterior painting is often more time-consuming and difficult than interior, so ensure you’re up-selling customers with a product that is guaranteed to last, protects their investment against the elements, and improves the curb appeal of their home,” he suggests.

Yes, it does cost more, and yes, it’s with good reason. “It’s easy for customers to be blinded by the upfront work and slightly higher price point vs. interior paint, but it’s important to continue to drive home the message that a small investment upfront can pay dividends for their home,” he said.

PPG has very recently ground some improvements into to its exterior lines, Trenta added. “In April 2017, PPG relaunched several exterior premium products that leverage advanced resin technology to provide long-lasting protection for both residential and commercial properties,” he said. “This new resin platform, found in PPG Paints™ Sun Proof®, Fortis® 350, PPG Pittsburgh Paints® Weather King®, and PPG Porter Paints® Acri-Sheild® exterior paint products, provides excellent adhesion on a variety of exterior surfaces, great dirt resistance to keep surfaces clean, and flash rust resistance to ensure rust stains won’t bleed through the paint.”


Try These Five

Eugene Andreassi, Benjamin Moore VP Retail Services, has five ideas for reaching practically any audience, any possible way. The broader your reach, the more you’ll sell.

Chase Ladders: When it comes to increasing exterior paint sales, there is nothing more beneficial than developing and enhancing relationships with professional painting contractors. Pro painters buy significantly more exterior paint than consumers. By prospecting and promoting yourself and your business outside the store with this most important customer, your efforts will be rewarded and your goal achieved.

Contractor Events: In-store events catering to pro painters are a great way to build loyalty and introduce new products to our biggest consumers of exterior paint. If a full-scale pro show is not in your planning, schedule several painter breakfast events.

Local Advertising: Plan to leverage your advertising budget during the times of the year when consumers are most attuned to exterior painting—Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. The competition is doing this like clockwork, and you want to be noticed as well. This is the ideal time to reach out to the customers who already know you and like your presence in digital media.

DIY Paint Clinics: Weekends after the morning rush are ideal times to create some theatre and generate excitement in your store with a hands-on paint clinic. These events create a buzz and awareness that cascades from your attendees to their social circles. Make sure you plan to be fully staffed on these days.

In-Store Promotion: Take full advantage of end caps and other merchandising tools provided by your vendors to align your in-store product marketing with their national marketing campaigns.


Know Thyself and Thy Product

At Farrow and Ball, a premium paint-maker from England, Lead Decorator Wayne Armstrong suggests focus on knowing what you’re talking about. Know your products, know how they work, know how to apply them, and know about the tools to help your customers know what they need to. When everyone is in the know, there’s “know” turning back!

Know the product: Customers may come into store knowing what look they are going for or wht color they would like, but they strongly rely on the dealer as the expert to guide them in the right direction. It’s important to know which finish works best for softwood window frames versus metal surfaces, etc. For example, Farrow & Ball offer a range of exterior finishes to suit different exterior situations, from a Full Gloss finish for a smart front door to Exterior Eggshell to update a tired looking outbuilding. The more confident and knowledgeable you can be about the product, the better you can sell it.

Know the application: Though the application of exterior paint is not too different than interior, it can seem overwhelming to the unfamiliar shopper. By providing customers with as much information as possible about the application process of exterior paints, the project will seem less intimidating.

Know about additional tools: Have all the corresponding exterior paint tools available for purchase. It’s much easier for customers, and they will recognize you as the one-stop-shop for exterior painting. Make sure you offer standard and angled brushes, roller systems, plus masonry brushes just in case.


Margins of Less Difficulty

Emmett Fiore, Senior Color Strategis at Fine Paints of Europe suggests you don’t have to sell more so much as make higher margins selling the same. Sell 10 gallons of apartment white and make $10, or sell ten of a premium and make $75. We just made those numbers up, but you get the point. “Don’t worry about increasing your sales, rather concentrate on the profit margins. Fine Paints products will easily do this for your business. Do the math,” he suggests.


Only the Rich Can Afford Cheap Paint

Dan Cohen, Executive Vice President at ICP-Construction, notes that your success in selling exterior rests on a combo of product knowledge and product itself. To sell premium paint, you’ll have to know about it as well as help customers understand its benefits.

“The key to success in exterior sales is selling your customers on longevity and prevention of failure,” he said. “The number one reason for exterior paint failure is moisture.” Once you get that into your customer’s head, you can sell them on keeping dry and explain what products can help. “For example,” said Cohen, “California Paints’ Trouble Shooter Primers—oil and acrylic—have up to 35% better vapor transmission than average exterior primers.”

Cohen reminded us that an independent dealer’s success rests on knowledge and expertise. Share some of that, and you’ll have increased profits along with increased happiness from helping people to a great finish. “Show them boards of failing product—show what moisture-blistered paint looks like so that consumers know if that is their issue,” he suggests. “Create an endcap with featured primers, paints, caulking, siding wedges, housecleaners, sandpaper, scrapers, etc. and articles on how to correct common problems.”

Finally, remind them that in the long run, paying extra for great paint won’t add nearly as much to the cost of the job as having to start over five years sooner than they want to. “Promote the fact that paint is usually only 15% of the cost of an exterior job and that it is far less expensive if they use the highest quality primers and paints to extend the life of the job. Promote the fact that vinyl and aluminum siding can be painted and does not have to be replaced when it looks tired. California Paints’ 100% acrylic paints are designed for these surfaces.”


Outside and Awesome

We asked our contributors to highlight an exterior product, and each one picked something that’s distinctive to their brand. Please turn the page and take a look at the quick product-knowledge seminar that follows!


Get This On Board

Storm System Deck Resurfacer from ICP Construction is a 100% acrylic flat solid finish designed for use on decks that have cracked boards or that have been exposed to elements for a significant period. This high build system product is designed to bridge small cracks and to prolong the life of decks that would normally not hold conventional stain products. Storm System Deck Resurfacer exceeds ADA standards for slip coefficient.;


Time for Timeless

PPG Paints™ Timeless® super premium exterior paint saves professionals time and delivers a long lasting finish. Made with 100% acrylic resin, it creates a high film build and a durable bond in one coat. (Some colors, drastic color changes or porous surfaces may require more than one coat to achieve a uniform finish.)

Timeless retains its gloss and color even after extreme, repeated cycles of accelerated weathering, so pros can achieve a freshly painted look that lasts for years. The product offers outstanding adhesion and dirt resistance to prevent paint from cracking, peeling, or flaking. Dirt and grime can simply be rinsed away with water. Timeless’ flash rust resistance properties help to ensure that rust stains from items such as nail heads will not bleed through the paint. VOC levels, less than 50 g/L, are VOC compliant in all regulated areas.

Eggshell Won’t Crack

Farrow & Ball Exterior Eggshell is used for softwood, hardwood and all metal surfaces including window frames, cladding, guttering, garden furniture, railings, and gates. It is a durable and flexible water based paint with a high resistance to flaking and peeling for up to six years. When tested for accelerated weathering and long term exposure it gave excellent results. All of Farrow & Ball’s exterior paints contain UV resistant pigments to ensure color retention throughout their lifespan.

Farrow & Ball Exterior Eggshell is classified as matte on the U.S. sheen spectrum. It has a 20% sheen level, allowing customers to continue the distinctive Farrow & Ball look outside their homes.

Get Hep to EHP

“It might as well be new,” says Emmett Fiore about this little-known product from Fine Paints of Europe. “Eurolux Housepaint is a 100% acrylic, satin finish that’s been flying below the radar for some time. Sales of this product are increasing every year. It is easy to use and spec out—I love this product! It exceeds all expectations on exterior. ‘EHP’ as we call it, is definitely worth getting to know.”

Fine Paints’ Eurolux is described by the company as a state-of-the-art, water-thinnable acrylic formulation in a  classic satin finish. It combines the advantages of both modern acrylic and traditional oil formulations when used in combination with FPE Oil or ECO Primer/Undercoat.



Open the Door for Moore

A door is a special part of the house; often the place where even your most color-conservative customers will try to express their individuality. If they’re going to go bold on their home’s exterior, this is the place! Benjamin Moore’s Aura Grand Entrance brings rich, vivid color and exceptional durability to doors and trim. Inspired by fine European door and trim enamel, Aura Grand Entrance cures to a lustrous finish for a look of elegance and luxury.

Specially formulated to retain color integrity and gloss, this enamel is easy to apply, has excellent hide, and is available in unlimited colors. It is a urethane modified waterborne alkyd, available in satin and high gloss. It is only sold in quarts. If someone needs a gallon for their front door…hats off!

  Filed under: Feature
  Comments: None

Color of the Month: Green 2017

By The Paint Dealer,

Greenery in the Scenery

Just like last month’s white, we thought it would be a good idea to consult someone who chose our color of the month as their color of the year.

Pantone, a global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, defines its color of the year as “a symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”

It’s simple to remember: Greenery.

Pantone describes it as “a refreshing and revitalizing shade, symbolic of new beginnings.” It’s not only a color of nature, but a color that reminds everyone to stop and refresh their day, their thoughts, their lives. The description continues below, and even if you don’t recite this to your customers, understanding the reasoning behind this selection can help you help them.

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signal consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront—it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, tells us, “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront—it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

“The tangy yellow-green speaks to our desire to express, explore, experiment and reinvent, imparting a sense of buoyancy,” Eiseman continued. “Through its reassuring yet assertive vibrancy, Greenery offers us self-assurance and boldness to live life on our own terms, during a time when we are redefining what makes us successful and happy.”


Since Pantone is in many industries, this color will be seen in many areas. For the paint industry, look for it in open spaces in interior and exterior design and where floor-to-ceiling windows allow the green outdoors to influence an interior room’s backdrop and ambiance. “Adding Greenery through living walls, terrariums, botanically-themed wallpaper, paint, accent furniture and decor provides respite and breathing space,” said Eisman. “A Greenery-painted wall or piece of furniture delivers a pop of color, with the added benefit of creating the illusion of nature indoors. Bringing the outside in, the shade—like the plant life it represents—can improve self-esteem, reduce anxiety and heighten awareness of one’s surroundings.”

Green Hall of Fame: These companies have named Green as a Color of the Year:


Guilford Green from Benjamin Moore in 2015


Paradise Found from PPG Pittsburgh in 2016


Tavern Green from Old Fashioned Milk Paint in 2017


Retro Metro Green from Fine Paints of Europe in 2017

  Filed under: Color of the Month, Feature
  Comments: None

Interior Project: Mansion in a Small Space

By Jerry Rabushka,


No Product is Too Good for Your Customer’s Project

Paint is for mansions. You’ll see a spread of inspirational photos and think “well, I guess I’ll have to find some very rich customers if I’m going to sell this stuff.” For now, we’re going the opposite route—paint can inspire a space of any size. The Paint Dealer HQ is a five-room bath-and-a-half building from 1919, the year of a Reds World Series and birth year of entertainers such as Nat King Cole and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

It’s enough space for us, but it’s not a Carnegie mansion by any step of the word—at this point it doesn’t have a lot of 20th (or 21st) Century charm at all. So, you think, just slap up a few gallons of flat white and call it a day? What more can you do with it?

Oh, a lot!

When it comes down to it, someone in a small space, say 1,000 square feet can invest in great paint and products for significantly less than someone who has 10,000. They can paint a room with a couple of gallons and an arresting color combo and make a small space look great. We didn’t think we deserved it; when we approached English paint company Farrow & Ball about sponsoring our project we were a little afraid—we wanted to paint a small part of our interior and we weren’t sure they’d want their paint used in such a space.

Balderdash (or whatever the British say), they said. One of their goals in bringing their paint to the states was to show that it’s great for all kind of spaces and houses—whatever the size: tall, grande, venti…a good coat of paint can do a place proud. And we were excited to find out—what does this ultra-premium grind have to offer?


More of Lester

So let’s get started. Just like with our last exterior project, the first order of businesses is to hire a painter. We called Lester Painting LLC—we were very happy with their work on the last project, which was painting the concrete on our building’s exterior, so we figured we’d be happy hiring them again. This is a company that hires good painters who care about their work. Company owner Mark Lester came by with an estimate and off we went.

On a Monday morning, they sent Tarron Alexander, who’s exactly the kind of painter you want for a project full of sponsored products. He’s got plenty of experience, he loves trying out new products, and he’s not camera shy either!

We gave Tarron a quick tour of everything we needed to do and use, and he was ready to roll…ok…actually he wasn’t, because you can’t roll before you prep.


Twelve Years and Counting

We think we’re in our 12th year of these Start to Finish Projects, but just in case you’re new to this concept, here’s how it works. We pick something to paint, then manufacturers sign on to sponsor a product category. We’ll usually pick our own building or work with someone we know simply because we don’t want to help the little old lady down the street and have her sue us over a spot on the rug. Our rug, our spot, our problem.

We use the product the right way, so you can show your customers how it fits in to an overall day’s work, but also so you can show them a “project approach” with all the tools they need to pull off a successful job. Just sending someone home with a can of paint won’t get the job done—it won’t even get the can open!

We thank our sponsors for turning us on to some great new tools, paints, and applicators! Another note—by using these sponsored products and talking up their benefits, we’re showing no disrespect to other suppliers’ products in these categories. But yes, we are focused on our sponsors, and in this article we’ll discover how these products helped a painter do a faster, better, cleaner job. We encourage you to try these products, and encourage more manufactures to get involved in the future.

This being the issue distributed at the National Hardware Show, what better a time to show off some new and favorite items!


Caulk Up Another One

As we just mentioned, one goal of our project articles is to show how a variety of products work together towards a common goal—each one of our product categories contributed towards our success.

Our caulk sponsor is Sashco, which was founded in 1936 as the Colorado Steel Sash Company and has been making caulk since 1941. For this product, we opened a case of its Big Stretch® product.


You can figure out its strong point by the name. Tarron (accent the last syllable) had used Big Stretch, which was a great choice for our kitchen. We’d caulked it a bit over the winter because the kitchen was full of cracks and gaping joints and all kinds of ways to let in cold air. But we did a makeshift job just to get through the winter. Why use this product rather than “painter’s caulk?” Our kitchen has lousy insulation and it gets the wrong end of temperature extremes. When it’s hot it’s hot, when it’s cold it’s cold. We needed something that can ebb and flow as the building materials move with the weather.

The product is 100% acrylic, can be used on a huge variety of surfaces, and can stretch to over 500% of its original size, so we think we’re safe. Tarron noted that he lays down a bit of a thicker bead with this product and likes to cut the tube with a slightly larger opening than with other caulk products. He found plenty of places to put it to use: windows, doors, baseboards, and more! There were gaps in the kitchen window frame where a stretchy caulk was the perfect fix before painting. When selling caulk to either pro or DIY customers, remind them that even if they’re not painting an area, it might be wise to make sure to caulk it while the tools are out.

Sashco has a lot of caulks for specialty uses; the company likes develop caulks to fix specific problems so you can send your customer home with something you know is going to get the job done. Stock a few and help your customers fill their cracks!


Squeeze to Please

Many DIYers might be afraid to caulk because they’ve had a problem with the gun. Maybe they got a cheap one and thought that’s how they all worked. Dripless sent us a selection of its guns, and what we’re finding out lately is that a lot of folks still haven’t heard of a caulk gun that stops the caulk from dripping when you leggo of the trigger.

Tarron has used a Dripless plenty, and he’s seen the same problem we do—they’re hard to keep around! People like to take ’em, whether they should or not. So…be careful. And if you’re selling to a foreman, recommend he gets enough for everyone to have their own! Seriously, a few extra top quality caulk guns can make it easier to pick up and get to work.

This gun seemed a bit different but we weren’t sure why, then we noticed Tarron was gunning an ETS 1000, rather than the usual 2000 we’ve used before. So we asked Dripless’ sales manager Tom Allen, what’s the difference?

“It’s a DIY version of the ETS composite technology,” he explained. Short for ErgoTech Series, this group of guns was developed about a decade ago in response to changes in caulks and sealants themselves. “The 100 is stripped down to remove cost, but still dripless, lightweight, tough and with the same thrust ratio (12:1) as our most popular ETS2000. Also, the trigger throw and handle are tighter and shorter for users with small hands.”

Tarron’s a big handed fella, so he likes to throw a bigger trigger, but it gave him the opportunity to learn about various models. Turns out there was a lot more caulking than we thought, as there is in most homes, so having a gun that let him move quickly without problems saved a lot of time and frustration vs. the 2.99 special. You might just sell more projects when people find out that there’s a better way.

Dripless also makes a variety of sundries, and they sent us some of their sturdy plastic Paint Dawg and Paint Pup buckets, which are helpful for a variety of activities from holding paint to cleaning up. Along with their larger companion The Big Dawg, these buckets have a multi-liner system—24 disposable liners are pre-packed to fit snugly inside each unit. The liners pull out one at a time, leaving a clean bucket for the next use.

The liners are constructed of .8 mil polyethylene and are impervious to most paints and solvents currently used in the industry. To remove left over paint from The Paint Dawg, simply pull the liner out, snip a corner of the bag, and squeeze paint back into the original container. With an ultra-premium paint, your customer will want to save it all!


Keeping Things in Hand

Hyde Tools sent a variety of inexpensive yet indispensable hand tools. Keeping with our theme above, one of them is the Caulk Aid, which helps remove or dig out old caulk, open your tube, and smooth out the bead. Tarron’s been painting long enough where he can run his finger over a bead and get great results, but, he agreed, this is the perfect tool for your DIYer who doesn’t have that finger’s worth of experience, or doesn’t want to put their finger in the caulk. It may take a bit of practice, but it will help the inexperienced as well as the fast moving contractor get a more professional look. Plus, one tool does a lot of tasks.

They also sent several knives, blades, and replacement packs which he used, of course, to open packages but also to cut painter’s tape to make it fit flush into the corners. That’s important so you have clean corners when the tape comes off. He noted a lot of good qualities to the utility knife and provided several thoughts you can share with your customers.

For one, the blade is sharp, for two, he could push it out a couple inches which helped his reach since he on a ladder getting into a ceiling corner. and for three, the snap-off blades make it easy to get to a sharp blade without have to hunt around. There are a lot of utility-knives on the market, and this one did the trick. Tarron felt it was very easy to use. Because it’s loaded with sharp blades, make sure your customers read the safety directions on the back.

The very first thing we did on the project was take out an old Hyde spackling knife…these tools can be longtime friends to many tried and true painters. We had to fill in a few holes, including one from from a broken bath tissue holder that we pulled out of the wall, plus any building put up 97 years ago has its share of dings and nail holes. We did a pretty good job too, because you can’t tell where the holes were.


Finally, we had a Hyde Whip Mixer. Put it on a drill and into the can. For Farrow and Ball paint, which Tarron commented was thicker than the norm—that’s a good thing—this tool really helped him stir things up. Attach to a drill and go for a spin. Its plastic fingers will handle every type of compound without overtaxing your drill. It has an 18″ shaft to stir up anything from ones to fives. Easy cleanup, and…it’s fun! (Seriously, it is.)


Pigging out on Pigments

About now we sent a question to Farrow & Ball—your paint looks different right from when we opened the can, so what does that mean? They were excited we noticed and explained that they make their paint with a higher level of titanium dioxide than most brands. This adds to brightness and whiteness as well as the paint’s durability. Eleven other pigments are used to complete the color charts, but it’s a secret, they tell us, and attempts to match the color intensity in a can of F&B invariably fall short. The paint is also formulated for a flatter finish, and the lower light reflection imparts a deeper richer color.


Wood You Like a Spin?

Speaking of stirring it up, if you’re a regular reader you know we’ve been using Amercian Paint Paddles for as long as there’s been an America and as long as there’ve been paint paddles. Well, not that long, but they’ve been a mainstay of all our projects and we thank them for providing paddles at every conceivable opportunity. Remember you can get your company name on the paddles so as people are stirring, they remember who to call then they have to get that extra gallon you said they needed that they said they didn’t.

American Paint Paddles are made from sustainable wood, so are manufactured with minimal environmental impact. There are various models and styles, and having several on hand will help make sure your painters leave with just the paddle they like. They come in one and five gallon sizes.


It’s in the Bag

We used our Intex PFC rags throughout the whole project, but we’ll talk about them here. You wouldn’t think having a great quality rag matters—until you don’t. Just like your cell phone, the minute you get one you’ll wonder how you ever got along without one, so remind your customers how important this is. They’re great when you need to wipe up a spill, wipe any excess caulk off your hand or the wall, sop up some paint, even smooth down tape!

Tarron hadn’t seen the new Intex PFC rags and he was instantly happy and amazed. That’s the mark of a true painter, to be this happy about a rag. Intex rags are designed for consistency. Each rag is made of the same material, same size and density, strong, absorbent, and you know what you’re getting.

For one, it’s not the proverbial box of chocolates where you never know what you’re going to get. Tarron noted that he’s reached into bags of rags and pulled of a variety of surprises…part of a bra, part of an old t-shirt with half of a bizarre saying, sometimes cotton, sometimes polyester, you might as well reach into the hamper. If there are colors in the rags, they can come off on the wall. So these were a treat. Also, Intex packs by number rather than weight, so you know before you open how many are going to be inside.

He kept at least one rag in his pocket for the whole project. When he was taping, he used clean hands and a rag to smooth the tape down to the wall, especially where he was painting stripes. Remind your customers to do this to make sure they get the razor sharp lines a good painters tape like FrogTape will provide. Using the rag helped protect his finger and let him apply more pressure to the tape, safely.

Plus, are you going to do a whole job with no drips and spills? Probably not.

Go to the Intex website to see all the benefits they tout about the rags…that’s exactly what Tarron was excited about…and he hasn’t even seen the ad!



Leaping into Tape

FrogTape. You’ve doubtless heard of it by now, and this time we really put it to good use. Let’s talk stripes first, because it’s in a situation like this where the product really shines. Our designer, Farrow & Ball’s Julie DiOrio, specified some full gloss stripes in the dark Railings color to be painted over the off-white Dimity in the entryway. She wanted to bring high drama to a previously ugly and forgettable space. This kind of thing can be a big mess if the tape doesn’t keep paint out, or if the painter doesn’t apply the tape right to make sure it can.

As we noted, you have to apply it correctly in order for it to work—even the best tape won’t work to its optimum capacity if it’s not firmly on the wall. This means smoothing it down after applying it to make sure there is as much contact with the wall as possible. Alexander used the brand’s yellow FrogTape Delicate for the walls, since he had just painted them the day before. He had a laser tool with him to help him tape a straight line. It came in handy because our doors are crooked—if he had used the top of the doors as a guide we’d have quite the mess on our hands. As noted, after the tape was applied, he took one of our Intex rags and ran it over the tape to press it firmly to the wall. When doing a job like this, it’s especially important to do corners correctly.

As he peeled of the tape…voilà…sharp lines! You can really see how will this tape works—sharp lines, even up close!

We used FrogTape in several spots: cabinets, doors, ceiling, walls, floor; with this many sheens and colors you’re going to want a good tape to set it all apart. Tarron could cut in pretty well—he cuts hair when he’s not painting and you can’t use tape there, no matter how obnoxious the customer—so he didn’t need as much tape as some folks might. Customers who don’t have his steady hand can really save time and aggravation by taking time to apply tape before they start. Sure, FrogTape costs more than a tan masking, but who wants to spend a decade looking at paint bleed wishing they’re bought better?

When it came to cabinets and tight spots and some door jams, fixtures, windows…oh yep there were plenty of places to unroll and stick to it! Tarron chose FrogTape delicate for some of the cabinets as well, due to the materials used on the cabinet doors.



You Look Great in That Coat

Farrow & Ball is new to our brushes—we’ve heard about the paint for many years but it’s the first time any of it has crossed (or painted) our threshold. You can tell by the cans, with the logo stamped in the lid, that you’re getting something different. For about $100 a gallon, your customers are going to want an experience and they’ll expect spectacular results.Paint is still paint, which in the long run means it can only stick to what you paint it on. If you paint it on dirt or loose paint, it’ll stick to that, no matter what happens. So prep is important, of course! That and do it like they say, which is a primer and two finish coats.

We had several different undercoats to work with, each designed for various topcoats. There were light tones, mid tones, dark tones, red tones, all designed to make the final colors show true once the second coat was applied. Because we had a lot of different colors and sheens, it took us a minute to sort it out. Farrow & Ball supplied us with a detailed spec sheet that noted all the paints and primers needed.

It’ll take you a minute to prep, tape, prime, and paint a space with this many different sheens and colors, so remind your customers that this kind of spectacularism won’t be done in a second. It’s not the same as going into an apartment and painting three rooms with blow & go white. Remind your painters as well, as they need to bid accordingly.


And sure, we could have gone less on the color, but we asked designer Julie DiOrio to give us her take on it to show off the product as well as put a professional eye towards decorating the room.

It did take some time, and Tarron’s the kind of painter who will stay until it gets done, which is why we’re here writing at 10:38 p.m. He’d never heard of this brand, but he was excited as soon as he opened the lid and saw the thickness of the paint. He could tell it was of superior quality. Even the primer goes on smooth and thick, and the untrained eye could easily confuse it for a topcoat.


Alexander also noticed how the paint didn’t leave brush or roller marks, and as it dried we couldn’t tell where he stopped rolling and started brushing. A lot of common paint application problems just weren’t an issue here. It was very cooperative, which is a great selling point to anyone—again, great products make you look so much better at what you do!


We were anxiously awaiting how the color and gloss combos would look—and what’s the best way to show off your paint? Use a top quality applicator.


Apply Low, Apply High

We’ve used ArroWorthy products several times before, but they were new to Alexander, and what better way to get an honest opinion than from someone with nothing to lose? Well, honestly, he liked everything we put in his hand, but he liked particularly the feel of the brushes. Some guys like ’em stiffer, but he was happy with the medium stiffness of the nylon/polyester blend of the Finultra, which will encourage him to seek out this brush in the future. If you can turn a painter on to a product, he might just go back to the boss with it, and before you know it you’re selling for a whole crew

We watched him cut in—he had precision where precision was needed. Many painters say they have a steady hand, but this guy does it second nature. A steady hand is a good start, but having a brush that respects it helps just as much. Even the best painter’s efforts will be thwarted if bristles are loose or uncooperative. The nylon and polyester filaments are 100 percent solid, round and tapered, providing longer wear, maximum resiliency, and easy cleanup.

The microfiber rollers were good too; Tarron was looking for something that didn’t put a lot of lint on the walls, and didn’t spatter or splatter. Having mini rollers in the same material was helpful because they’d leave the same kind of finish. He liked to run a bit of water on his rollers before he dipped them for the first time. Not too much, but just enough to get it started loading. Once he got rolling, it laid off a smooth, even coat.

ArroWorthy’s Barracuda frame is going to be new to a lot of your customers, but it’s definitely worth showing them how it works, and it’s fun to spin it around, with or without a roller. It has the feel of a product that will see significant action and not track the roller or break apart. It spins easy and lets you do the job of rolling rather than fighting to keep the roller from coming off the frame. Various sizes are available for various sized rollers.


Easy Pick Up

Extension poles. “But, I’m only painting inside.” That’s not the point. A variety of poles can make painting faster and more comfortable; even a couple extra feet on an interior can make all the difference from moving a stepladder around or just going about your business. Tarron picked up our Simms EverLock. and he was all smiles—these are the lightest poles ever!

They seriously are, to our knowledge, and we’ve been picking up poles since 1992. His first question was where can I get these? Not from you unless you have them in stock!

He mainly used a 3′- 6′ and then a 2′- 4′ when quarters got cramped. The bathroom is small, so a smaller pole helped him get in and around the space quickly; it’ll save your charges from bending around fixtures in tight spots. There was a vanity, a commode and a medicine cabinet with Ibuprofen from 2010, so to be able to pretty much stand in one place and get the room done was a big time saver. In the kitchen with more space, the longer extension pole helped with leverage and longer strokes.

These poles let you lock them in place anywhere along the sliding metal, so you can come up with just the right length. Depending on how tall you are, how long your arms, how high the ceiling, it all comes into play. Over a day’s work, using a pole that weighs so little allows for more control and less backache.


Holding Their Own

HANDy Paint Pail displays greet customers in many stores, and we’ll have to say there’s a good reason why. So much has been made of getting the paint from the can to the wall, and Handy Paint Products have proven themselves time and again. You can see from the photo why they’re handy, you just stick your hand in the handle and…it’s pretty darned handy! It’s designed so that it lays in your hand without you having to grip it, so it’s one less muscle to strain over a paint project.

Along with the flagship Paint Pail, Tarron busted out the Handy Paint Cup, a smaller version with a handle rather than the strap of its parent product, for touchup. Since he’s picky, he did a lot of touchup, so why pour out more paint or use a larger container than you need to? The pail and the cup come with plastic covers, so you can keep your paint from skinning over until the next use.

Finally, he had some good times with the Handy Paint Tray, which has some “why didn’t they think of it sooner” features like handles on both ends, which makes picking it up and moving it a lot easier than the old days when you’d pick up some limp plastic tray and spill half the paint on the floor. All the items have a magnet to hold the brush in place when you’re moving to the roller or just taking a break. The products are made of sturdy plastic, right here in the USA. The Paint Pail and Paint Tray come with liners for easy cleanup, or you can rinse them out to reuse.


Back to Work

After a bit of touchup (and a bit more touchup), we put everything back to rights. Did it transform the little house into a mansion? Not really, but here’s something to think about: a lot of times, coming to work can be a drag. Even if you love your job, if your workspace isn’t welcoming, you have to deal with that every business day. To spruce up even the smaller transient spots with bold or unexpected color is a great welcome. We know we’ll all be spending a lot more hours in the office now. Oh…wait…let’s rewrite that…we know that the hours we spend here will be more fulfilling thanks to an imaginative color scheme with high quality paint from Farrow & Ball.


Special Report: The Wall Whisperer

Often in these projects, we pick the colors ourselves, or the homeowner does, and usually from the wrong company’s color chart. This time we took advantage of Farrow & Ball’s design skills. We sent photos of our boring brown bungalow to the company’s Chicago Color Consultant, Julie DiOrio, with instructions to “go crazy!” We’d do whatever she recommended.

Even stripes.

A 2004 graduate of Columbia College, Julie began her career after a lifetime of immersion in home renovation through her family’s business. Beginning with retail windows on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, she went on to provide top-down renovation work from design to general contracting for luxury retail, hospitality, and residential environments. Her work includes Target and the NFL.
In Farrow & Ball’s Chicago Showroom, Julie brings to her consultancy a meticulous grasp of light and space and natural fluency in the nuance of color. What does all that mean? That we trust her!
Because her color choices were stunningly unusual, we thought we’d ask how they came about. It’s great to hear the thought process of someone who thinks for herself! Plus, her answers can help you with your own color dilemmas when a customer doesn’t know where to begin.

Q. How much did the permanent colors (floor, counter, etc.) influence your choices?
A. Material palettes are very important to take into consideration. These colors can either be accentuated or become more subdued by working with the undertones. Working against certain materials will often call out more attention.

Q. Did The Paint Dealer giving you “carte blanche” make a difference in how you chose color vs. working with a more determined customer?
A. Freedom to choose whatever you want isn’t always as exciting as it sounds! All customers have a preference, even if they can’t initially express themselves. I like to ask leading questions such as “do you like warm or cool tones,” or “are there any specific colors you don’t like?” Color is subjective so it’s really a partnership to get to a happy place for both parties—however, your immediate openness to my ideas was refreshing.

Q. How did the “before” photos make you feel about the space, and how did that inspire you?
A. When I start a project I think about how the space is used. Your office is a creative work environment (which I am very passionate about). I spent a lot of time going through the photos you sent, and my first impressions were that the space was dark, very neutral, and lacking energy.

My next step is to “problem solve.” The entry needed an immediate impact moment (this room can handle bold color, as just like the powder room, it’s a thoroughfare). A happy bold color like Churlish Green [on the doors] is an unexpected but an excellent contrast to the bold stripe effect of Railings [the “black” of the stripes and trim] and Dimity [off white in the walls of the kitchen and entry way].

Next, I worked my way into the kitchenette (the biggest of all three rooms). I had a few design challenges here, as I needed to create balance to the upper cabinets because one side has more cabinets than the other. I choose Dimity, a red based neutral, to add some warmth but brighten up the space.

Q. You used similar colors in a lot of places where many people would shake their heads. How come?
A. Painting the walls and upper cabinets the same color helps camouflage and brighten the area. The lower cabinets and all the trim and doors in this space are Railings. I wanted a bold graphic way to link the entry to the kitchenette and tie in the dark spots in the floor. I threw in the full gloss Dead Salmon on the window over the sink to add a little unexpected moment and draw the eye outside.

Q. You chose same-color-different-sheen combos in the powder room and the thresholds. How important was sheen in the overall effect?
A. Sheen plays several important roles. From a practical standpoint, a higher sheen brings in easier clean up and more durability, while a lower sheen helps hide imperfections. Sheen also plays a large role in the design perception of a space. Full Gloss (95% sheen) can create a dramatic, glamorous effect that helps bounce light. Estate Emulsion (2% sheen) and can create a rich matte look that absorbs light.

Q. You chose a deep dark color for the bathroom—is that unusual for a small space?
A. Creating shadow and drama in a small space can often create mood and excitement. A lighter more neutral tone is this space would have fallen flat and looked bland. I also think rooms that are used for limited amounts of time can handle intensity. [Editor’s note: now that it’s been painted, everyone wants to stay in there longer!]

Q. Why did you choose Brinjal, a deep wine color for the powder room? (Well, we gotta go.)
A. Brinjal felt like the perfect bold red-toned compliment to extend off [red-toned off white] Dimity, but also to keep the warm theme and continue making the existing materials feel intentional. I brought Dead Salmon to the vanity in the powder room to bring the color story full circle.

Q. What can a retailer or contractor to learn from this regarding helping people with color?
A. The sampling process cannot be cheated! Farrow and Ball makes sample pots to ensure the client gets exactly the same color in each gallon. Most customers have an idea of how they envision their project, and the right color is paramount. Make sure all aspects are taken into consideration, from the directional lighting that comes into the rooms down to the flow of one space into another. My most important piece of advice…do not sample on the walls. Paint your sample boards with two coats and look at them throughout the space at different times of the day.

I tell my clients, “The room will tell you what color it wants to be…listen.”

Thanks to Our Sponsors:

American Paint Paddle




Farrow & Ball


Hyde Tools

Intex DIY


T.S. Simms

  Filed under: Feature, Project
  Comments: None

Prime Coat—April, 2017

By Jerry Rabushka,

Jerry Rabushka

Judds Not, Lest Ye Be Judds

Wow, here I am doing a Prime Coat for the first time in years. Welcome back! This being the National Hardware Show issue, it seemed like a good time to cruise down that Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Dreams are made and broken in Vegas, but perhaps some folks, with their dream of successful new products or a win at the casino, came and went and hopefully got just a bit closer to waking up on the right side of a long-time dream.

Sometimes if your dreams don’t come true, you have to modify. I’m not a best-selling novelist like I had planned on at age 17, and not a platinum-selling rock star like I had planned on at 22, but once I got this job, I thought, I’m going to take writing about paint and sundries and do the best I possibly can. A dealer just wrote us a note too, saying reading our articles about other successful dealerships is what gave him the courage to open his own place. That’s some good dreamin’.

Back in the 1980s I saw The Judds in concert twice. More like heard them, since I was in the last row of a 4,500-seat theater. But they drove home the myth that “if two girls from rural Kentucky can make it, so can you.” Anyone in the music business knows that’s not true, and perpetuating the fable that if you just keep singing on your front porch some talent scout is going to drive by and put you on the big stage is dangerous. It might happen here and there, but most of us singing on our front porch would more likely get a citation for disturbing the peace.

You have dreams too, be it starting a paint store, starting a second paint store, or selling your store and opening a yoga salon. Whatever it is, we want to help you along the way. Dreams don’t have to be huge, they just have to make you happy. If we all had the same dream, life would be really competitive.

I have a story from that Judds era. There was a punk rock singer, Wendy O. Williams, whose music was really hard edged and rough, though I heard through the grapevine that off stage she was the nicest woman you’d ever meet. Totally not my style of tunes, though. One day I was jamming with a guitar player who had stage-named himself Jeff Loud; he told me his dream was to write a song for Wendy O. Williams. I said cool and good luck, but I was thinking to myself…well…why? And…how?

But it’s what he wanted to do, so who was I to say no? I only heard from him once after that, when he apologized for not keeping in touch.

Fast forward a few years and I’m watching a so-bad-its-good but it’s really bad movie called Reform School Girls. No, it wasn’t my choice and it still disturbs me to this day. And who should have a starring role but Wendy O. Williams, as a “tough broad in prison.” And who should be singing a lot of the soundtrack but…W.O.W?

When the movie thankfully came to an end and the credits started rolling, what should I see but that one of her songs was co-written by Jeff Loud. His name went by so fast that I barely saw it, but there it was, and there, I thought, was someone’s dream come true. I have no idea how he made the connection or how it all went down. Maybe the Judds are onto something.

So whether you’re in Las Vegas, Nevada; Las Vegas, New Mexico; or even Ashland, Kentucky—here’s to your dreams coming true.

  Filed under: Departments, Lead, Primecoat
  Comments: None

Shelf Life—April, 2017

By The Paint Dealer,

Meet Your Customers’ Kneeds

Are they painting baseboards? Sanding the floor? Warner’s knee pads offer all the comfort needed at a reasonable price. Features include super cushiony inserts, textured design to prevent slipping, and a large leg strap to prevent rubbing irritation. They are safe with shorts, have strong stitching for longer life, and one size fits all. Great for interior painting and many other around the house activities.


Take it Leightly

The Howard Leight™ Sync® Wireless earmuff, from Honeywell, is the first “communication” earmuff offered in the Honeywell Howard Leight Sync family portfolio. It was designed for the worker that needs to stay connected but also needs hearing protection in loud areas. The Sync Wireless earmuff can connect wirelessly to most mobile phone devices via Bluetooth®, making it easy to connect and use.

Take it Litely

BYK-Gardner, worldwide partner of the paint and plastic industries for quality control of color, appearance and physical properties, is introducing the new light booth byko-spectra lite. In addition to the well-proven BYK-Gardner light booth range, the lite version with five light sources and compact design builds the standard for critical visual evaluation in laboratory and production. The light sources of byko-spectra lite for daylight, home light and department store light allows you to remove the risk of metamerism. Viewing under ultraviolet light helps you to detect and evaluate optical brighteners or fluorescent pigments.


Here’s Watt’s Up

The Dewalt 20V/60V MAX Flexvolt 9.0Ah
Battery offers the following benefits:
•  Dual-voltage for ultimate flexibility.
•  Get up to 6X runtime when used with Dewalt 20V MAX tools.
•  Get corded power when used with 60V MAX  or 120V MAX  (2 x 60V MAX) tools.
•  Offers 6X battery capacity vs. Dewalt  20V MAX 1.5Ah battery.
•  180 watt hours of energy in each battery  pack. Get 360 watt hours when using  Flexvolt® 9.0Ah batteries in 120V MAX tools.
•  Can operate down to 0°F.
•  Compatible with 20V MAX, 60V MAX,  and 120V MAX (2 x 60V MAX) Dewalt tools.


Corrosion Coupon

For over 50 years, Q-PANEL® test substrates have been recognized as the world standard for a consistent and uniform test surface for paints, plating, adhesives, sealants, rust inhibitors and other coatings. This consistency and uniformity is now available through Paul N. Gardner’s Q-Lab CX-series corrosion test coupons. Corrosion test coupons ensure repeatability and reproducibility when performing laboratory corrosion testing. They help a user independently monitor the test conditions in the chamber by measuring the mass loss of the coupons as the test progresses. They are designed to meet the stringent requirements specified in many international modern corrosion test methods.

  Filed under: Departments, Shelf Life
  Comments: None

Just One Trip—NHS 2017

By Jerry Rabushka,

The 2017 National Hardware Show puts the whole industry under one roof.

What time is it? It’s March, so it’s time for…The Paint Dealer’s National Hardware Show Preview! Being that it’s our 25th anniversary, it’s probably our 25th National Hardware Show preview, give or take.

So first, the usual. Comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, what to wear? Find out beforehand if you’ve moved up a size rather that squeeze into those same khakis you’ve been wearing every May since 2002. If you’re a manufacturer, try to find a testimonial more recent than the 1968 Summer of Love. Smile. Our feet hurt too, and we do it.


Plan Your Event

If you’re walking the show, you can get easily overwhelmed, just like if you’re taking a vacation and find out that by trying to see everything, you wind up seeing nothing. If you plan your vacation in advance you can find the beaches, restaurants, and monuments that matter to you the most. The world’s largest gift shop? There’s one in every state.

Same with NHS, which now has an app to steer you to super sights and world wonders you might otherwise overlook. Once you register to attend, download the “My Show” app, which can help you organize your Vegas visit as vivaciously as possible. Based on the information you supply when you register, the app will play matchmaker and marry you to booths and exhibits that most fit your profile. These are not advertisements or based on paid sponsorships, the organizers stress, but actually ad-free recommendations. Be honest or you’ll spend all day outside sampling pizza and miss all the paint.

You can even set up meetings before hand with the app. Find your industry contact and send them a message through My Show to schedule some one-on-one. Note to both of you: show up! No one wants to run from booth to booth only to be stood up. Forget what time it was for? Retrieve your saved information quickly on your mobile device by logging into the National Hardware Show Mobile App using your badge ID and zip code.


Independent Thinking

Over the past several years, the Show has made an effort to be more relevant to independents, and every year it adds something more. “There are a large number of independent retailers within the home improvement industry,” says Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show. “At the Show, we offer networking events, complimentary education sessions, new products, buying opportunities and more for independents to take advantage of during just one trip.”

“Just one trip” is a mantra for this year, and it sums it up perfectly. Just one trip for dealers to meet each other and manufactures, for suppliers to see reps and dealers, for the media to report on the industry. Plus it’s a trip to Las Vegas which is always fascinating whether you hit shows and casinos or slow it up with diners and souvenir shops.

“I love the networking that takes place between store owners, vendors and manufacturers,” says retailer Megan Menzer of Newton’s True Value in Cherryvale, Kansas. “I can talk to hardware store owners who work with all different distributors, not just those with my own co-op. The contacts, new ideas, educational training and networking that go on makes it well worth my time to attend the Show.”


It’s Time for the Floor Show

The organizers recommend picking up the printed show directory before heading out on the Show floor. This guide gives a full list of Show exhibitors, as well as their booth numbers and contact information. Exhibitors that sell to the independent retailer will be marked as such in the guide, offering you the chance to talk with exhibitors who have the products you’re looking for and won’t keep scanning the crowd for someone with a big box moniker shining out from their lanyard.

As already mentioned, you can do a lot of planning if you download the free NHS Mobile App—even before you head to Las Vegas. Along with meeting and scheduling options, the app includes a plethora of information about the Show, including the full exhibitor list by product category, session schedule for the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village Stage and, of course, much more. It even has a special section just for independent retailers.

To further focus on the independent, exhibitors that sell to independent retailers can mark themselves as such and will be provided as recommendations to the independent retailers like you, who are looking for their specific product types.


The Village of Fast Forward

The NRHA (North American Retail Hardware Association) Village is the go-to area of the National Hardware Show where you’ll have the most chance to connect with other independent retailers. Or you can push someone out of the way at a booth, but that might not be the best way to meet people. NRHA is an association dedicated to helping independent retailers become better and more profitable retailers, and at the Show, NRHA will host a variety of complimentary seminars and awards programs on its Village Stage. The Village Stage will be located in the lobby of the convention center, next to the Central Hall. (NRHA also stands for National Reining Horse Association, so make sure you’re in the right place.)

The theme of this year’s NRHA All-Industry Conference is forward-thinking retail. Keynote speakers will include author Kit Yarrow (“Decoding the Consumer Mind”) and retail expert Mary Walter (“Your Remarkable Service Advantage”). There will also be a variety of other speakers, panels and awards ceremonies. To learn more, visit

You can also stop by the Village for the NRHA Independent Retailer Reception, which will be held 5:00-6:30 p.m. on May 9. This will provide an opportune time for you to network with other retailers and talk about the successes and challenges you face—or as Mark Lipton notes in his column, if they carry a product line you’re considering, ask them for an honest appraisal and you’ll probably
get one.


It’s Showtime!

Sure you have comfortable shoes (if you don’t, get some) and you’re drinking plenty of water (it’s
Las Vegas after all), and your pants fit (we have nothing to say about that), but you still want to take a load off. A great excuse would be one of those many educational seminars and presentations.

Check out the following list of some of the speakers and topics:


Customers Uncensored:
What They Wish You Knew
Dustin Kaehr, May 9, 9:30

Every retailer overestimates the quality of the experience they provide customers. Do you have a foundation to build a great customer experience upon? Did you ever wish you knew what customers really thought about your operation, your staff and your products?

In a bold approach intertwining personal and professional stories, and with full candor, Dustin will speak the honest truth about what customers say when you aren’t around. You will walk away energized to move forward in the battle for customers’ wallets and hearts.


Decoding the New
Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy
Kit Yarrow, author May 9, 10:30

A decade of swift and stunning shifts in how, when, and why consumers shop and buy has created a more volatile marketplace and new, more dynamic consumer expectations. It’s also created competitive opportunities for the retailers and marketers that understand the new psychology of today’s consumers.
Retailers and marketers that tap into the psychology of modern consumers are able to connect more effectively and can more accurately predict what’s coming next. Through case examples, videos, humor and insights from her own award-winning research, Kit will inspire attendees to make immediate use of:
• Six significant sociocultural shifts that have permanently changed the psychology of consumers.
• Eight ways that consumers shop, decide and are motivated to buy differently today.
• Eight strategic, actionable recommendations to tap into today’s new consumer psychology.


Break out of the Pack
Al Meyers, Kalypso, May 9, 1:00

What does it take to make your customer drive past your competition to buy from you? Drawing on his years of experience in consulting, Al will present the different approaches high-performance retailers are using to innovate—and stay afloat—in today’s tough retail environment.


Packaging & Merchanding Awards, May 9, 2:00

NRHA will introduce the winners of the 2017 Packaging and Merchandising Awards and share a summary of judge commentary and emerging packaging trends. Attendees will get to see the best of the best in home improvement packaging and merchandising.


Dealer Reception, May 9, 5:00

NRHA invites all independent retailers attending the National Hardware Show® to stop by the NRHA Village for a networking reception upon close of the show floor. Mix and mingle with fellow independent hardware store, home center and lumberyard owners and NRHA staff in a casual and welcoming setting. Please send your RSVP to to attend.


Benjamin Moore: “Store of Tomorrow”
Eugene Andreassi, May 10, 9:00.

Andreassi will discuss Benjamin Moore’s new store of the future concept, its origins and development and how the new retail model mirrors the future of what consumers are expecting.


Your Remarkable Service Advantage
Mary Walter, May 10, 10:00

The morning of the second day will feature renowned retail expert Mary Walter, who will discuss customer service and engagement strategy and share how retailers can inspire their teams to provide winning service. She will provide insight into what truly drives the business from a service perspective. You’ll learn how to solve problems as Mary draws on her more than twenty years of experience working with retailers including stores such as Target, Gap and Ross Dress For Less to share her first hand stories of customer service solutions.


The Store is STILL Important
Speaker: Jim Robisch The Farnsworth Group, May 10, 11:00

While online retail receives all the attention, this presentation will share proprietary consumer research that suggests the “in-store experience” still plays a critical role in shoppers’ buying habits. He will discuss why this is good news for independent retailers.

Along with this will be the various awards, packaging, innovation, new products, etc, throughout the day and evening. Who doesn’t like to see people win stuff and debate about it later! Pick your favorite seminars and schedule them in along with your supplier visits.


One Trip, Three Days, All This

It boils down to, say the show organizers…all this in three days.
• See the latest trends from 2,500+ exhibitors from around the world
• Get hands-on with every product, at every price-point, in 15+ major home improvement and hardware product categories
• Compare products with information directly from those who know best—the manufacturers, inventors, designers and more
• Find the resources you need to make better buying decisions—from the NRHA stage and networking with fellow industry professionals to a vast array of exhibitors
• Tap into new profit centers—discover the products that will fly off your shelves in the year ahead…and beyond!


Check Out These Companies’ Show Highlights!

Manufacturers are always happy to share their booth highlights. Stop by and tell them you saw it in The Paint Dealer (even if you saw it somewhere else too). Booth numbers are those listed at press time and may change.


3M: Booths N234, N236 & Lancaster

3M will be showing several products including: Large Hole Repair Kit: Large hole in the wall? Here’s a product for your DIYers that has all the tools and materials they need to repair a hole up to five inches. The 3M™ Large Hole Repair Kit helps them get the flat fill for a pro finish.

Unlike mesh screens that can leave lumps on the wall, this product uses an innovative behind-the-wall back plate for a flat fill that generates the same results as hiring a professional. Tools include back plate, fiber reinforced compound, putty knife, tape and sanding sponge.

Scotch™ Masking Tape for Humid Conditions: Featuring cutting-edge Humi Bond™ Adhesive, this tape sticks and stays in humid conditions. It also works great on zero-VOC, scrubbable and deep-base paints. For clean lines and great results, get the tape with staying power.


Abatron: Booth 4818

Abatron, Inc. has been manufacturing some of the most sought-after restoration products since the early 1980’s. Our well-known wood repair epoxy products, LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® make permanent, cost-effective repairs to rotted or damaged wood Our exhibit will also feature Krack Kote®, an elastomeric repair kit for cracked plaster and drywall that prevents cracks from coming back. Banish your cracks forever! Visit our booth for more information.


Add-a-Handle: Booth 5327

For all those times you wish it had a handle, now it can with Add-a-Handle! The combination of the open-ended handle, magnet, and two custom multi-length Velcro brand straps allows for endless uses to carry, hook, or hold practically anything up to 30 pounds easily, safely, and securely. Our design is perfect for licensing too! Come check out Add-a-Handle at our booth to enter our daily raffle, get a special offer code, and see how much Add-a-Handle has to offer! Made in the USA.



ArroWorthy:  Booth 5924 & Lancaster

ArroWorthy will be display its full line of Professional & DIY brushes, rollers and accessories including Finultra, Red Frost, Rembrandt, Pro Tradesman and Tradesman series brushes. We will be featuring our new Mighty-Mini Roller Program, our new Barracuda Mini-Roller Rod Frames, and an innovative extension pole series.


Blue Dolphin: Booth 5924 & Lancaster

Blue Dolphin will be displaying a full line of abrasives and tapes. We will be featuring our new Ultra-Premium Painters Masking Tape WASHI series (60 day Clean Removal) along with our new 4-Ply Barracuda Duct Tape Series (General Purpose, Professional and Industrial Grade). On the Abrasives front we will be featuring our new Ergonomic Hand Sanding Tools, excellent for small and fast prep work jobs.


CBC: Lancaster Show

CBC Computer Systems will be exhibiting at the Lancaster show. CBC will be showing its latest enhancements to Decor Fusion, including new high speed integrated credit card processing, an improved Mobile RF Gun app and a new EDI system for sending POs electronically to Lancaster. Decor Fusion is a specialized point-of-sale software system designed exclusively for paint and decorating retailers.


Franmar: Booth 5031

Franmar is pleased to once again be showing at the National Hardware Show! This year we are introducing our new BLUE BEAR Graffiti Removers. There are two formulations, one for porous surfaces like unfinished concrete or stone and a variant that is designed for hard surfaces like metal and painted concrete. Just like our Blue Bear Paint & Urethane Stripper these products are environmentally safe, low odor, and work well. Stop by our booth to see a demonstration of our products in action.


Gardner-Gibson: Booth 5019 & Lancaster

Gardner-Gibson brings its entire portfolio to the National Hardware Show, from caulks and wallpaper adhesives to coatings that deliver protection from the elements. Check out our new products and learn new things about longtime favorites from Black Jack, Dynamite and Gardner. Ready to stock the shelves? Swing over to the Gardner-Gibson booth at Lancaster for great show specials and buying opportunities. We look forward to seeing you!


Golden Paintworks: Booth 5518

Introducing NEW Lifestyle Finishes™ by Golden Paintworks, a division of Golden Artist Colors, Inc. Lifestyle Finishes are a line of 18 decorative finishing products that offer a fresh way to bring the beauty of nature’s textures inside. Now you can offer customers something new, easy-to-apply…and profitable for you! Aligned with today’s trends, Lifestyle Finishes allow your customers to show off their creativity and individual personality. All products are tintable and offer a great range of diversity in a small footprint. Planograms come with many extras to help the products sell. Visit our booth for hands-on demonstrations throughout the show.


HANDy Paint Products: Booth 5330G, Lancaster

Bercom will be back at NHS to showcase its ever-growing HANDy Paint Products family! Officially launched last spring but still making its way into the marketplace is the Handy Pro Pail, designed for professionals and DIYers. The Handy Pro Pail was developed based on insightful customer feedback about the Handy Roller Pail. Designed to accommodate up to a 6.5-inch mini-roller or a 3-inch paintbrush, the Handy Pro Pail will hold more than a quart of paint or stain, making it a must-have product for paint contractors. Like many of Bercom’s popular painting accessories, it has a custom-fit liner available for purchase and is proudly made in the USA. Stop by the booth to check out the full product line!


Howard Products: Booth 5519

We’re going to have our three new products at the show! We acquired Chalk-Tique and are now selling three Chalk-Tique products: A Powder Additive for paint, a Light Paste Wax and a Dark Paste Wax. Chalk-tique mixes with any latex paint in any color to provide a chalky finish. It won’t compete with existing paint sales—it helps you sell more paint. Ease of use and a low price point make it a great product to stock! Also take a look at our other products in the Howard Line.


PPG: Booth 5919 & Lancaster

PPG will feature products from brands such as PPG Paints™, Olympic® stains, Glidden® paint, PPG Proluxe™ wood finishes, Flood® wood care, Liquid Nails® adhesives and Homax® specialty products. PPG will be happy to discuss stocking your store with a product mix that will satisfy the needs of your DIY and/or contractor customers.


SafeWorld International: Booth #4909

With over 30 years’ experience in the paint sundries category, SafeWorld Int’l., Inc. has created the CANGUN1® premium spray can tool featuring the world’s first FullGrip™ trigger with 2.5:1 leverage advantage making spraying up to 8X easier while providing professional results every time. CanGun1’s exclusive ergonomist-tested, arthritis-friendly design makes it suitable for use while wearing bulky gloves.

The reusable product is Made In USA from 80% recycled plastic, and is the only spray can tool to have ever receive the Handyman Club, Stuff-Stuff, Nat’l Street Machine and Motorcycle Clubs of America Member-Tested seals of approval. Stop by to discuss the merchandising options available and the high margin dollar return on investment you get when you stock the CanGun1 premium spray can tool.


Santint: Booth 5429

Santint is once again exhibiting at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. We are showing our entire line of paint dispensers and paint mixers. Featured is our new M3 manual turntable colorant dispenser that was redesigned for the North American market. Its shelf is ten inches higher for easier ergonomics and has an open base to accommodate our V10 mixer or storage. This unit also accepts our new larger stainless steel canisters with a five ounce gauge, plus micro dispense gauge. Show Special—get 10% off by mentioning this article from The Paint Dealer.


More for Sale at Lancaster

For the past several years, Lancaster has co-located its Las Vegas Buying show with the National Hardware Show, and it’s just a short walk from one to the next. This gives you two distinctly different options: the bigness of NHS or the smaller, more intimate atmosphere of Lancaster. Register for this show by April 16 and you’ll receive $100 cash when you check in at the Lancaster Registration Desk, limited to one $100 per bill-to customer.

Walk the show and take advantage of deep discounts, delayed shipping, extended payment terms, cash spiffs, and prize giveaways. Along with that, the amount you purchase can qualify you for a night or two of room reimbursement and even money back on your airline tickets. Purchase $5,000 to $7,499 and you’ll get one night’s room reimbursement, or throw in that extra dollar and for purchases of $7500 and over, get two. Register by April 16 for a discounted room rate at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, where the show is located.

Other perks include lunch from noon to 1:30 on Wednesday, May 10; and breakfast on Thursday, May 11 from 7:30 to 9:00. A 6:00 poolside reception follows the close of business on Wednesday.


Companies and Brands at the Lancaster Buying Show
(exhibitor list supplied by Lancaster; may change by the show.)

Absolute Coatings
Accutec Blades
Advanced Protective Prod.
Allway Tools Inc.
American Safety Razor
Associated Paint
BD Classic
Bercom International
Better Tools
Blue Dolphin
CBC Computer Systems
CFI Products
Convenience Products
Covergrip Corporation
Crown Solvents
Custom Building Products
Dad’s Easy Spray
Diversified Brands
Dripless, Inc.
Dumond Chemicals
Encore Plastics
Environmental Tech.
Foam Pro
Full Circle International
GE Sealants
Gorilla Glue
H&C Stain
Honeywell Safety
Hyde Tools
Hydra Sponge
Intertape Polymer
Kelly-Moore Paints
Lancaster IT
Lighthouse Products
Liquid Nails
Louisville Ladder
Mad Dog
McCauley Tools
Merit Décor
Merit Flooring
Merit Pro
Modern Masters
Momentive Perf. Materials
Norton Abrasives
Old Masters
Packaging Service Co.
Paint Scentsations
Paint Sundry Brands
Peel Away
Petoskey Plastics
PPG Architectural
Progressive Materials
Protective Coatings
Roman Decorating
Saint Gobain
Sansher Corporation
Seal Krete
Sheffield Bronze
Siamons International
Smell Zapper
Sunnyside Corporation
System Three Resins
This Stuff Works, Inc.
Total Roof
Warner Tools
West Chester Gear
WF Taylor
White Lightning
WM Barr
Work Tools Int’l
Zar Stain


About the National Hardware Show®: The National Hardware Show® celebrates a rich history spanning 72 years of serving the home improvement marketplace. From its early beginnings in New York during the post-World War II housing boom and eventual move to Chicago in the 1970s, to today’s current location in Las Vegas, the National Hardware Show continually evolves through the industry’s involvement, commitment and passion to improving American’s quality of life through their homes. Today, the Show is the place for global manufacturers, associations, organizations and the media to unveil their new products, ideas and insight to a broad spectrum of home improvement resellers.

  Filed under: Feature
  Comments: None