Paint Scene—July, 2018

By The Paint Dealer,

  

Ohio City Wins Main Street Contest

Independent We Stand, an advocacy organization for independent retailers, has named Bridge Street Ashtabula in Ashtabula, OH as the $25,000 winner of its “America’s Main Streets” contest. A top ten finalist two years in a row, voters rallied this year to push Ashtabula—population 18,311—to the top of 303 entrants. More than 200,000 total votes were cast by the public nationwide in the third annual contest.

With a lift bridge at the center of Bridge Street’s livelihood, the Ashtabula Lift Bridge Community Association (LBCA) formed in response to a planned closure of the bridge for repairs in 2008. To combat the negative economic impact of the bridge closure and to counter the recession, LBCA established traffic-generating events like fairs, festivals and open houses to draw patrons to Bridge Street businesses despite disruptive construction. The organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, also began promoting and developing the Historic Ashtabula Harbor as a major regional destination for tourism, recreation, and entertainment.

“Time and time again, we see America’s Main Streets not only surviving hardship but showing innovation and ingenuity in the way they do it,” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “This port community reinvented itself in 2008 when faced with serious economic challenges. We look forward to awarding the grand prize to this motivated group and seeing how they further impact local independent businesses and the people who support them.” A celebratory event was held in the city July 28.

The presenting sponsor of this contest is Stihl, Inc., with supporting sponsors PPG, Do it Best, and the North American Retail Hardware Assn.

 

Industry Peeps

Golden Paintworks®, a division of Golden Artist Colors, Inc., has hired Jim Rogers as its new Director of Paintworks Branded Products. Rogers will lead the development, marketing, and sales of the Paintworks branded products, currently including Lifestyle Finishes™, Pro Finishes, and the new Theme Paint line. Rogers is well known throughout the industry, having spent 40 years developing Modern Masters, Inc., a leader in decorative coatings. As president there, he was responsible for overall performance in all areas of the business. Rogers resides in Valencia, CA with his wife and son, where they are active in their local youth hockey organization.

 

Custom Equipment LLC has hired Norman Waterman as its Northeast U.S. territory manager. Waterman is focusing on bringing the productivity, ease of use, and safety benefits of the company’s lightweight low-level scissor lifts to more rental centers and contractors in the area. Waterman has more than 20 years of construction sales experience, including five years with National Equipment Services.

 

Intertape Acquires Polyair

Intertape Polymer Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the outstanding equity value in Polyair Inter Pack Inc.

Polyair, a private company, is a significant industry player in the protective packaging business, with seven manufacturing facilities and a distribution center in North America. Its primary products consist of bubble cushioning, foam, mailers, and air pillow systems, which are complementary to IPG’s existing product offering.

  Filed under: Departments, Paint Scene
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Prime Coat—July, 2018

By Hans Mugler,

HANS MUGLER
Publisher

Rock Solid

Summers in St. Louis can be scorching hot and extremely humid, which is weather not very conducive to painting outdoors or even painting indoors in a place with no fans or AC. Yet as I drive around the Lou on my daily adventures, I’m stunned at the people I witness painting in 100 degree weather, in direct sunlight, on wood and even metal substrates! Yes, I want to get out of my car and instruct them that they shouldn’t be doing that, or they should be painting earlier or later in the day when the temps are lower, substrates are cooler, and paint won’t bubble or blister, but it’s not my place. It shouldn’t bother me, but it does, because I expect painters to know better. It’s not good for the paint or the painter.

Recently, to escape the summer heat, my wife dragged me off to the cineplex to catch the latest Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movie, Skyscraper. We both like action adventure movies, but I’m more of an Antman and the Wasp or the new Jurassic Park movie kind of guy. No spoiler alerts here, but if you are into the nearly super-human Rock the movie Skyscraper portrays, you are going to like this movie, otherwise, it’s not a lot different than most of his other flicks…but hey, you gotta love a dude who is so strong he can hold two ends of a steel bridge together while his wife crosses it to safety, or The Rock jumping from a moving crane arm some 100 stories above ground to a building that is 30′-40′ away (why is this man NOT competing at the long jump at the Olympics?).

As a paint guy, whenever I’m watching TV or a movie, I’m constantly looking for “paint”, paint messaging, paint references, people painting, and any paint brand names I can see. At Skyscraper, a paint type product had a starring role, and the folks at Shurtape® Technologies seemingly have made out like a bandit! In the movie, Dwayne Johnson needs to rescue his wife and kids from a burning ginormous skyscraper. The wife and kids are near the top of the building while The Rock has to get to them from below.

He decides to climb out a window, about 100 stories above ground, and shimmy along a 3″ ledge to a place he can access that allows him to climb higher to his family. Even The Rock needs a little help with this incredible feat, and he gets it from…wait for it…duct tape! He finds a roll of duct tape laying around and decides to wrap it backwards around his hands and arms so that the sticky side is facing outward. Then, as if he has transformed into Spiderman, he uses his now super sticky hands and arms to hold himself against the glass of the skyscrapers windows on his perilous journey.

I’m assuming regular old duct tape would not be very realistic, but if in fact The Rock was using, say, T-Rex Ferociously Strong Tape®, then I’m a believer…sort of. Heck, we saw a T-Rex brand product lift up about 700 lbs. at the NHS in Vegas in May, so holding a 230-pound man against skyscraper windows is almost believable. And the fact that Johnson mentions the words “duct tape” three or four times during the movie tells me that Shurtape reps really worked hard for the product placement or just got super lucky. Either way, the next time you see your Shurtape rep, you may just want to get their autograph.

  Filed under: Departments, Lead, Primecoat
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Paint Scene—June, 2018

By The Paint Dealer,

   

Things are Bigger in Texas

PPG has announced plans for a new distribution center in Flower Mound, Texas. The nearly 450,000-square-foot facility, which will be constructed and leased through Duke Realty, will be the largest distribution center for architectural paints and coatings in PPG’s U.S. and Canada network.

The new facility [ceremonial ground-breaking pictured above] will strengthen the company’s distribution model and allow for improved, efficient service to PPG’s independent retailers and other accounts across the U.S. The project is expected to be completed in May 2019.

PPG’s architectural coatings business employs nearly 900 people in Texas, and the company also supports local industry-relevant science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) training and education initiatives through the PPG Foundation. PPG recently partnered with the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association to support the advancement and economic growth of Hispanic contractors in Texas.

 

  

 

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PPG on Night Watch for 2019

Paint is part of the real world. It has to respond to real world problems, real world substrates, and real world trends. We often like to say, “these are the worst of times,” and for your customers going through their own hard times, helping them to the right colors can really make a difference. The folks at PPG have noticed that a lot of people are choosing colors that tie into nature, so to underscore that need, its color experts chose a deep green as their color of the year. PPG has recently been announcing its COTY in June so that designers and retailers can get a good start for when it’s time to swap out the calendar.

The PPG paint brand 2019 Color of the Year is… (ta daaaa)…Night Watch (PPG1145-7). This rich, luxurious, and classic shade of green will be at the forefront of design trends in 2019, and will allow homeowners to emulate the feeling of lush greenery and the healing power of nature as they decorate their spaces.

“The restorative power of nature is important in society now more than ever,” explains Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager. “Night Watch is about bringing the healing power from the outdoors into your home through color. The dark green hue pulls our memories of natural environments to the surface to recreate the calming, invigorating euphoria we feel when in nature.”

This color’s versatility will tranlaste the greens of nature to a home or commercial interior. “Night Watch’s ability to invoke a deep connection to nature is universal, which allows the hue to be versatile for a variety of spaces and design segments—from healthcare to commercial and residential design,” said Schlotter. ppgvoiceofcolor.com

  Filed under: Departments, Paint Scene
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Mark My Words—June, 2018

By Mark Lipton,

sponsored by

MARK LIPTON
Contributing Writer

When General Sherwin Marches In

I slept really well last night. I didn’t spend the night tossing and turning; I got into bed and fell right to sleep. I didn’t groan or shout out in my sleep (according to my fiancée at least) and didn’t wake up with that jaw pain you get when you spend the whole night in anxiety filled teeth-grinding. No pools of sweat marking the sheets like the chalk-line around the body at a crime scene, I just laid my head down softly on my pillow and fell asleep.

As you try to scrub the image of me in my SpongeBob SquarePants “onesie” pajamas out of your head, I promise you, this is leading somewhere.

Yesterday during the day I wasn’t sure I was going to get much sleep at night. On my way up to see a customer yesterday morning, I passed a big sign on an empty storefront: “Sherwin-Williams Paint Opening Soon!” Right down the street from my main store?! Panic set in. Sherwin Williams! HERE? In New York City, SW stores were never all that common. But over the last few years they’ve been adding more and now you can’t fling a dead rat in this city without hitting an SW store.

I am not generally a worrier by nature. I am not the kind of father that says to my daughter “call me when you get there!” I don’t panic if I see my fiancée talking to another man and when bad months happen in my stores (hey…I’m in retail…bad months happen) I don’t sit around thinking that the sky is falling.

But a Sherwin-Williams store a few blocks away…now the sky WAS falling! The demon that lived in and threatened me from the dark shadows all through my paint career was now out in the light. All this was made worse by the fact that a few months ago I looked at that exact space and thought about renting it and moving my store there. Now, as I stood in front of the store that was soon to belong to my mortal enemy, all my brain will do is recall what I was thinking the day I met the realtor: what a great location…what great parking.

I spent the day worrying. Which of my customers would they call on first? How low would I have to cut my margins to compete? How many of my employees would they steal with offers of riches and a 401k? Would I need to change my store hours? Would I need to significantly increase what I spend on marketing? As I zombie-walked through the rest of my day, I answered all these questions in my head by assigning them all the worst possible outcomes. There was reason for hope though. I became confident that if I cut my margins to 2%, added Sunday hours and gave all my larger customers an extra 120 days terms all while working in the store alone, I would be able to survive.

Then, the long drive home. Not wanting to waste the time, I efficiently spent my commute assigning blame. Why didn’t my father know that this was going to happen to me when he opened this location 50 years ago? How could he risk my future like this? Why hadn’t Benjamin Moore rented that spot (and every other empty space within a mile of me) to protect me from this outcome? This was clearly my father and Benjamin Moore conspiring to cost me a night’s sleep. I managed to get all the blame assigned just as I pulled into my driveway.

At dinner, I broke the news to my family: we had to sell our cars and move to a one-bedroom! I sobbed as I told my daughter that she could not go back to college in the fall and explained why. Then, as usual my kid and fiancée spoiled everything. “Doesn’t Sherwin-Williams already have like eight billion stores?” my daughter asked? “Aren’t some of them really close now? How is this store going to ruin you if all the others haven’t?” she mused.

My fiancée asked “Do they sell Benjamin Moore? Isn’t that the most popular brand?” These two ruin everything: Excuse me, but I’m trying to be miserable here! By the end of dinner, things were starting to look up. A busy mall right up the street will bring more traffic. not less, which means more customers, not fewer…even with a Sherwin-Williams in it. Property values will go up and I own the building! Survival seemed likely.

We finished dinner and I lit a celebratory cigar as we cheered my slaying of the giant!

Mark Lipton is the 4th generation owner of Tremont Paint in New York City as well as a consultant to the coatings industry. mdlipton@me.com

  Filed under: Departments, Mark My Words
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Just Say Yes—June, 2018

By shephyken,

SHEP HYKEN
Contributing Writer

Are All Customers Created Equal?

In 1945 George Orwell published the literary classic Animal Farm, which was required reading in my middle-school English class. I always remembered the line, “All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Someone recently referenced the book and this famous line, and it made me think about how customers are treated.

Are all customers equal? Loyalty programs promote perks, rewards, elite status and more, which might suggest that not all customers are equal. Now, I agree that loyal customers can receive some type of reward or discount for their loyalty. But, what about when it comes to customer service?

Should a frequent or loyal customer be given better service than a casual, once-in-a-while customer, or even a first-time customer?

The short answer is no. We’re not talking about perks, just about the way a customer is treated. Here’s what I recently observed: I was at a restaurant and noticed a guest almost being ignored compared to another guest at the next table. I inquired about who that “special” person was getting the extra attention, and my server said, “He’s in here all the time.”

I notice the same type of behavior happens with airlines and hotels. It’s easy to spot the frequent travelers by the way they are treated by airline and hotel employees. So, it appears that frequency might warrant a better customer experience. The same might go for how much a customer spends.

Here’s my take: Unless you want to send all your new clients to Home Depot, the way a customer is treated should have nothing to do with how much they spend or how often they buy. All customers should be all be treated with dignity, respect, and the attention any human deserves. They should all be treated in a way consistent with your store’s promise and the reputation you wish to be known for. When it comes to the perks you might offer a loyal customer, you can differentiate. That’s different than the way you treat them.

But, isn’t it human nature to treat the regular and more profitable customers a little better? Looks like it! If that is what you believe, there is a solution. If you haven’t already done so, create a minimal standard of customer service. This standard should be so good as to garner high praises regardless of how much—or how little—the customer spends. It’s that simple.

Remind everyone of the standards you want to be known for. Remind them that applies to all customers, not just the ones they see more frequently. Do that and you may start to see more casual customers become repeat customers. You see, all customers are equal, just some are more loyal than others.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 hyken.com

  Filed under: Departments, Just Say Yes
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More Stuff to Paint

By joshbohm,

JOSH BOHM
Contributing Writer

 

Masonry Surfaces Take the Floor…and More!

There’s been a trend over the last decade or so where architectural concrete has been creeping its way into homes and commercial spaces and where “exposed brick” has become a buzz phrase in real estate listings. It’s great to have such a durable surface, but maybe it’s not holding up like it should, or maybe your clients want to add a custom look to their space, so…what do you do? If you keep reading, I can tell you (and I promise to keep it short this month). Painting and coating brick, concrete, and other masonry surfaces is becoming almost as popular as the surfaces themselves. I got in touch with Richard Ahlstrom of Abatron, Joe Riggio of Nationwide Protective Coating Manufacturers, and Yvette Rubenzer of Gardner-Gibson about just what you can do to grab this market!

 

     

You Might Know More Than You Think

Rubenzer opens by reminding us that you and your painters probably already have the skills and sundries needed! “Contractors are often so focused on traditional applications that they don’t realize how well suited their skills and tools are for the application of natural stone and concrete paver sealers,” she said. They just need to learn it up, and it’s not that hard to do. “The easiest way to avoid application issues is to read a product’s technical data sheets. One or two pages of preparation and application information takes five minutes to read and can save so much time and energy both in preparation and also over the life of the project, with a job well done and no call backs. Manufacturers want contractors to succeed,” she asssured us. After all, that’s their avenue to return business! However, she adds, make sure your supplier is accessible and will answer the phone to address any questions that pop up during application.

 

     

Stay on Top of Concrete

So what can you do to stay on top of the newest in masonry coatings? Riggio of Nationwide pointed out some industry trends. “We have noticed with all the spray-crete decks, stamped concrete decks, and troweled decks that there is an increase in refinishing products such as clear coats and clear urethanes,” he said. “With the abundance of pavers in the marketplace, clear paver sealers are becoming a high demand product. Also, with higher concern for aesthetics, we find that more and more customers are staining or clear coating their driveways and walkways.”

He also shared some insight on some of the interior applications we touched on earlier. “Water based, environmental friendly interior epoxies are very prevalent in the market and with the added ease of no harsh fumes,” he added. “By using these products, it is very easy for a DIYer to achieve a professional look.”

Now if you’re a master of Tetris and can squeeze all sorts of products in all sorts of places (just like Sue Moore, the subject of last month’s independent dealer profile), you’ve got your display situation in order. But how do you squeeze these new products and concepts into an already overpopulated display? You know I asked—it’s my job! Rubenzer suggests that end caps and counter signage can help draw attention to the category of proven products and then introduce customers to what’s new. “Highlight these products by asking a question such as, ‘Does this project have pavers that may need to be resealed?’” she suggested.

Plus, share your excitement with customers even before they come to the store! “Do you have a customer email news program or a blog?” she asks. “Use them to share a bit of insight on clear sealers. Painting contractors typically know what they need before they walk in the door, so catch their attention and plant the seed. These are natural opportunities to add sales with proven products for retailers and contractors.”

“Ask if the contractor is working on adding any projects,” adds Riggio at Nationwide. “You can let the clients know that you have urethane products to coat pools, concrete stains for driveways and walkways, and epoxies for garage floors.”

Letting customers know about these products—which they may not yet have heard of—can maximize your sales and get an idea brewing in a consumer’s mind. There may even be some additional things you can do to get paint pros, who we all know aren’t the easily convinced type, to jump in feet first.

For example, Yvette had a great idea to get your foot in the door of their future projects: “Paint contractors are either picking up product from you or getting deliveries from you, so your relationship with them is already there. Introducing the contractor to the sealer category is the first step,” she elaborates, “then ask the manufacturer to bring doughnuts and give a 15-minute intro to sealers. Ask them to come back with more doughnuts and do a product demo. Make sure your chosen manufacturer can provide inventory quickly and conveniently and remains accessible for questions along the way.” (And make sure you find a good doughnut shop, too!)

 

      

Conquer The Stoop

If all of that doesn’t work, you can always remind pros and DIYers alike what happens when they neglect their surfaces.

As Abatron’s Richard Ahlstrom says, “Concrete is one of the toughest, most durable, low-maintenance building materials available…except sometimes it’s not.” There’s so much that can go wrong when some of these surfaces are left in their raw state if you get unlucky.

He told us about a porch that some of his clients encountered. “This particular stoop had a combination of common problems. Years of cracking and crumbling on the bull-nosed step edge had left unsightly gaps in the concrete [and] general settling had caused hairline stress cracks that spider-webbed across the entire surface. Replacing the concrete wasn’t really an option because it would have required the removal of the attached portico.” It can be costly if you don’t do the right thing first, or at least have quality repair products for sale (such as the Abatron products shown). With all this in mind, it makes sense to make sure your customers go home with some masonry coatings in their trunk!

 

Re-Design Your Personality

Our trip to the National Hardware Show brought us into contact with Re-Design from Prima Marketing. What an amazing way for homeowners—or any concrete owner—to add excitement to this surface! Here’s a quick Q&A on how this unique product can make the difference, not only on your sales floor, but in your customers everyday lives. Below, Cari Fennell, the company’s home decor coordinator, answers a few questions that you in turn can answer for your own clients.

Q. How can Re-Design bring excitement and focus to areas where solid colors can’t?
Re-Design tools allow you to add personality and beautiful designs to your living areas. You are able to create beautiful patterns with our high-quality stencils using your choice of color to complement the solid colors, resulting in a high end custom look. They are easy to use and reusable too, making the investment a win-win for any DIYer or paint pro.

Q. What could a paint pro or DIYer do with this product that would make their job stand out?
The options are endless. A paint pro or DIYer could use our tools to add character and charm to a space by choosing from our selection of fabulous designs. They can use any color of paint to complement their projects and color schemes. Our collection also consists of heavy duty 3D stencils that will allow you to use a dimensional substrate so you can add a dimensional design that will give you a gorgeous overall impact in the space where they are applied.

Q. Where would you suggest using the stencils over a textured finish?
On a textured surface, we suggest trying out certain designs to be sure you get the look you are going for. A pattern with a bolder design (rather than a delicate design) would work a lot better over a textured surface. You can use the patterns to create a border or a focal point on the wall [see photo on page 18] or any surface for a high end custom look.

Q. How would you suggest merchandising this new product?
Samples! Create sample boards or a feature wall so your customers can see what the patterns look like once applied to a surface. Customers like to see what they can do with a product. Also, hold DIY workshops or demonstrations—that’s a great way to show customers how to use the product, what they can use it with, and to pass along tips and techniques for using it successfully. Our tools are also great for upselling other goods. Use them along with other media that you wish to showcase to your customers for promotion and education.

  Filed under: Feature
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Stick Around Awhile

By Jerry Rabushka,

A Painter’s Tape Update

Sometimes change seems seamless. When a product performs better than it used to and you don’t have to do anything different than you used to, that’s pretty cool. Like if you brush up a paint the same way as before, but it lasts longer and smells like that rose garden you can finally promise someone. And here’s where we’ll seamlessly move into what’s changed—because as paint changes, many sundries around it do as well. We know it’s true of brushes, but tape also has to keep up. For this article we asked our manufactures to talk about a product or two, how it works and keeps up with contemporary coatings, and why it deserves a spot on your shelf.

 

Jump Higher

FrogTape’s PaintBlock® Technology needed to change along with paint technology itself, in order that it could still block the paint that’s put over it. We heard talk of this change at the National Hardware Show, so we thought it would be a good time to ask and pass it along—seamlessly.

“All FrogTape® brand painter’s tapes are treated with patented PaintBlock Technology, a super-absorbent polymer that reacts with the water in latex paint and instantly gels to form a micro-barrier,” explained Kacie Baon, category manager for FrogTape. “This barrier seals the edges of the tape, preventing paint bleed and creating clean, crisp lines. But as paint companies continue to evolve their paint formulas, it’s critical that tape manufacturers respond in tandem. This ensures that when painters are on the job, the tape they use will adhere completely and uniformly, regardless of the paint brand, color, or sheen.”

FrogTape answered that call, she said. “To respond to these changes, FrogTape Multi-Surface (green) painter’s tape features a new adhesive specially formulated for hard-to-stick-to paints and surfaces while still delivering the same 21-day removal. This medium-adhesion premium painter’s tape is designed for an array of surfaces including cured painted walls, wood, metal, and glass.”

Its companion product, FrogTape Delicate Surface (yellow), will provide the same protection, so remember to ask your customers about their projects so you can recommend green, yellow or both. “FrogTape Delicate Surface is still treated with PaintBlock Technology to provide sharp paint lines, but it has a lower adhesion level to help prevent surface damage when it is applied to fresh paint (dried for at least 24 hours), wallpaper, faux finishing, and other decorative painting projects,” said Baon.

The good news is that you don’t have to do anything different—they did all the R&D work at parent company ShurTech so you can sell a roll with the same confidence you did before. “Users should not notice a difference with the new adhesive formulation. They’ll continue to have the same great experience with the product that they have had in the past,” said Baon. “This should provide them with the confidence that they can achieve their desired results regardless of the paint they’re using.”

 

   

New Hands on the Unroll

One of the challenges of any tape that targets the pro is that many contractors don’t want to use it (or at least be seen using it!). They feel a good painter can cut in without it, so why waste all that time putting up tape they don’t need? Plus if you’re that guy on crew that wants it, it might be embarrassing if everyone else points and laughs.

But while painter’s tape can help even the most experienced pro do a better job, it’s usually up to a manufacturer and retailer to convince them of the benefits. Hence, the company’s new Frog It™ campaign, to show the pro how to seamlessly incorporate the brand into an everyday lifestyle.

“Frog It is a brand-new campaign centered around the message that even the best paint contractors can benefit from FrogTape painter’s tape,” said Baon. “Nobody has time for touch-ups these days, so why not use FrogTape, the brand pros rated #1 for sharp paint lines, to make sure you get the sharpest paint lines possible the first time?”

You can see this campaign right here, right now by checking out the new FrogTape ads in The Paint Dealer and The Paint Contractor. Plus, your paint contractors can get a free roll! “As a part of this campaign, we are encouraging paint contractors to engage with the brand—especially if they haven’t before—by offering a free roll to try on the jobsite,” said Baon. It’s free, so it’s a great opening to talk to them about the brand, she said, and what do they have to lose but wasted time in touchups? “You can encourage them to visit FrogTape.com/FrogIt to give it a try for themselves!”

 

It Comes out in the Washi

If it feels different, that’s because…it is different. Blue Dolphin’s Washi Tape has a lot of properties that recommend it as a “add on” product, but that also give it the glamor of a go-to in its own right. For one, it has 60-day clean removal for those projects that just never seem to get started (or finished, because everything isn’t seamless after all). Apply in July, remember in September!

“It’s a super thin/flat rice paper backed by a solvent free adhesive that produces clean sharp lines,” explains Blue Dolphin President Roland Kolilias. Does paint color matter? Oh, yeah it does. Then this is the roll for you! “Washi is the best tape available on the market to use when working with variations of dark to light colors,” he asserted.

While it’s a premium tape, says Kolilias, it’s that type of premium that can become the norm for the discerning painters. “You can promote this as the go-to of premium tape products,” he said. “It’s great for use on freshly painted surfaces, it provides sharp edges, and it’s a lacquer friendly product that will outperform the competition.”

Try swapping it out for your go-to conventional tape, he encourages, and you’ll quickly be spoiled with how good it works. Put it on just like any other tape, but when you peel it off, you’ll have superior results—and results are what counts! “Our Washi can be used in the same ways in place of conventional tapes and actually give better results. The Blue Dolphin Washi can be used as a conventional tape as well as a high end tape.” Either way, it’s a great outcome.

 

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Indoors or Out, Give Platinum a Shout

We’ve talked a lot about investing in premium products, so why would tape would be any different if you want that “seamless” job? A great paint and a great applicator isn’t going to help your homeowner who wants to “paint like a pro” if they can’t paint a straight line and the tape doesn’t work—or in some cases, even stick to the wall. And for the pro…well they don’t want to worry every time they pull off a strip.

Why pay more? It’s worth it, but that’s for you to explain! If people ask why ScotchBlue™ Platinum Interior Painter’s Tape has a higher price point than ScotchBlue Original Painter’s Tape, you can show them what more it has to offer. “Its price is due to its premium features that help in achieving professional looking results,” said Laura Maciejewski, 3M marketing manager.

“Well what’s the difference, it’s just a roll of tape!” you may hear. Just like it’s “just a can of paint.” Or “just a counter clerk.” Heck a good counter clerk can sell a bundle more than a bad one, especially if they know some selling points. Here are a few for ScotchBlue Platinum:

• ScotchBlue Platinum Interior Painter’s Tape is made with an advanced 3M poly-material that removes easily in one long piece without slivering or tearing, for faster prep and removal (compared to 3M paper backed masking tapes).

• Durable poly material helps stop paint seepage for ultra-sharp paint lines on multiple surfaces including baseboards, trim, glass and metal for professional results.

• Advanced technology lets you tear the tape at a 90-degree straight edge for fast corner prep.

• It’s easy to apply and adjust, with excellent conformability and 14-day clean removal with no surface damage.

If you don’t want to be that retailer that’s always upselling without a good reason, you need to have an out, in that you need to be able to tell your customer there’s a still time when the less expensive product will do but there are times when they’ll want superior performance. Here, therefore, is a list of conditions when you want to send them home with Platinum Interior: “It is a must in situations where you need the highest quality results, including ultra-sharp paint lines. When fast cleanup is desired, this innovative poly-tape is great because it removes without tearing or slivering,” said Maciejewski.

Just like exterior paint itself, Platinum Exterior will withstand more of nature’s brouhaha than its interior sibling. “Platinum Exterior Tape has a durable waterproof backing that holds strong in rain, wind, humidity, high heat and direct sun,” said Laura. “The adhesion levels also differ. Exterior Tape has a very high adhesion for exterior surfaces whereas Platinum Interior has a medium adhesion for multiples surfaces.”

But, you say, another SKU? Another product to keep track of. Help me! Well, help is here. “Platinum Interior can be used in place of our Trim+Baseboard tape,” said Maciejewski. It’s an easy change to pull off. “Show customersw how it removes easily in one long piece without slivering or tearing.”

 

      

If it Walks like a Duct…

Applying stucco can pose some danger, in that just like paint you don’t want the stucco materials going where they aren’t supposed to. That involves protecting a lot of different surfaces: doors, window frames, and nearby building materials. Intertape Polymer’s Stucco tape will come to the rescue, so if you see a painter buying a whole bunch of stucco stuff, see if he will stuff some Stucco Tape into his sack of sundries.

Not only that, but it has some heavy-duty uses beyond its name. “Stucco Masking tape is unique in that its tough like a duct tape, but removes cleanly after its done its job—even after direct exposure to UV outdoors,” said JoMarie Pagano, consumer marketing specialist at Intertape. “It’s also used as an outdoor utility tape to mark areas, hold things together, and protect surfaces while being exposed to rain, wind, humidity, and dust and dirt. It sticks well to many surfaces and generally removes cleanly, leaving little to no residue.”

So it’s not something you apply to stucco so much as something you apply around it. “You can apply it to the doors and frames of the house, and also to hold up protective poly-sheeting,” said Pagano. “This provides surface protection to the window and door frames as well as masks the windows from splash. It also protects the frames and windows from the exposure of stucco and from the grime associated with the stucco application process. The tape can also be applied around frames after the stucco is painted.”

Plus it’s easy to take off! “Stucco masking tape is specially formulated for easy removal after applying the stucco,” said Pagano. “It’s made with a specially engineered adhesive that provides high adhesion while removing cleanly.”

There are a few varieties, so as with many products, a few questions as to the exact nature of the project will send your painters out with just the right roll. “There are different levels of UV performance utilizing polyethylene tape, and also poly-cloth versions that are usually used during one-month (or longer) three-coat stucco applications,” Pagano explained. “IPG offers Stucco Masking tape usually for less than 30-day application and PE8 Preservaton Tape for longer applications.”

So to recap your benefits, you can market this product as a great all-around exterior tape that is UV resistant, highly visible for marking, that removes cleanly, and is heavy duty for extra durability, she concluded.

 

Fantastic on Plastic

Back to the sea with Blue Dolphin. Since most dolphins live outside, an exterior tape seems like a good bet from this company. Let’s say you put up a roll of tape and then it’s going to rain, do you want to have to put up another roll of tape again? We’ll take a guess, in an industry where people value time and money, that it’s no. “Our exterior tape is weather and water resistant and will hold up in hot humid areas and light rain storms,” said Kolilias.

Not only that, but when you’re done, you’re done—no ugly cleanup for your painters. Well they still need to clean the sprayer, but they won’t have to take time away from that to deal with tape gunk and residue.

“Blue Dolphin exterior tapes allow painters to complete exterior jobs with ease and no mess,” said Kolilias. “The residue free formulation allows contractors to work on smooth and rough substrates while leaving the tapes on for 7-14 days. This means painters have no extra clean up at the end of the job.” And just like paint itself, these exterior tapes can be applied to all kinds of surfaces. “Blue Dolphin products work fantastic on plastic, aluminum, vinyl, and composite windows, as well as performing on brick, stone, concrete, and stucco,” Kolilias listed.

Even on an uneven substrate, it seems to be seamless. “Its special formula allows it to stick to rough surfaces with no problems and still have a 7-day easy clean release,” he said. “Duct tape in the same environment will fail and require extra clean up.” But you still gotta prep to get these benefits. “The surface needs to be clean of dust, grease, and dirt before applyng,” he reminds us.

 

Get a Grip

T-Rex Tape from ShurTech isn’t your typical tape. After all, there are very few people who aren’t fascinated with tyrannosaurs. Now you can bring a T-Rex into the house without putting your family at risk of being eaten, not to mention the property damage­, as this tape line can do just the opposite and save a lot of equipment. Some of the powers of this tape are quite amazing, and a good demo will definitely wow your customers and show them the benefits, or barring that, ShurTech has created several videos to demonstrate. However, you want to make sure they bring home the right roll, and this is a product line where asking the right questions can help you make a real difference in how customers perceive the tape—and how they perceive you for solving their problem.

“T-Rex® Tape products include ferociously strong, weather-resistant duct tape, packing tape, and repair tape for household repairs, DIY projects, and outdoor living,” said Stephen Wagner, T-Rex Tape category manager. “It is therefore critical to ask how and why they are using tape. Are they using it for an interior or exterior job? Do they need all-weather durability? What about waterproof backing? Do they need packaging tape or repair tape rather than duct tape? What about mounting tape for indoor or outdoor surfaces?”

Painters are already using the original T-Rex in many places they previously used duct tape, says Stephen, and even if it’s not something they’d use during painting, painters have a lot of other needs as well. “From on-the-fly repairs to tools, sprayers, and even fixing work boots—to patching surfaces and more—it’s ferociously strong and won’t let you down. Packaging tape, on the other hand, can be used for storing items and supplies.”

So your basic selling point to a painter who’s all like I’ll never use this stuff is oh yeah you will. “It’s the little things that can bog down a painting job,” Wagner reminds us. “Broken tools, loose hoses on a sprayer, a cracked bucket or paint tray…Having the right tape on the job will make the contractor’s life easier.”

Plus it’s fun! It’s a dinosaur fer cryin’ out loud! Get your customers out of the Jurassic age into the modern era, where all kinds of new tapes can make that difference. “From heavy-duty packaging and mounting tapes to a wide variety of aggressively strong tapes for all-weather durability, the entire T-Rex product family is designed for those moments in your life when you need intense holding power no matter the application. That’s why we recommend contractors keep our full range of products on hand,” said Wagner.

Looks like tape suppliers are solving more and more problems. If this keeps up, you might want to call your store “Paint & Tape.”

 

   

It’s A-Peel-Ing!

A conversation with Michelle Mitchell, CMO of Peel-Tek, makers of Peel-Tek®150, a temporary protective surface and liquid masking.

What are some types of work Peel-Tek makes easier?
Peel-Tek 150 bridges the gap in masking rough, highly textured surfaces. Where traditional masking products (tape) fail to adhere or allow seepage in highly textured surfaces, Peel-Tek 150 forms a contour hugging, skin-tight protective barrier, preventing seepage and bleeding. It peels away cleanly, leaving no residue behind. It can be left on interior surfaces for weeks and still peel away cleanly. It can be used for stenciling, even on stained concrete floors, without fear of damage to the stained area.

How can Peel-Tek work in conjunction with tape?
Peel-Tek 150 can be used as a double-back adhesive with masking paper or plastic to mask large areas and will adhere to the most stubborn surfaces. Just run a small bead at the edge of the masking paper/plastic and apply to the desired area while it is still wet. It can be used this way to cordon off full rooms to keep them dust/residue free. Once it dries, it forms a tight bond and will not allow the masking paper/plastic to move until you are ready to peel it away.

Is it easy for the average person to apply?
Peel-Tek 150 can be applied with a paint brush or roller for larger surfaces. It is very forgiving—if you accidentally apply some where it doesn’t belong, just rub that area and it will come off or you can wait until it is dried and peel away any unwanted product.

Is it “safe and green?”
Peel-Tek 150 has a base of natural latex and is water soluble. It is eco-friendly

Give me an example of a project where Peel-Tek can “make the difference.”
When masking highly textured walls or hard to mask areas like brick, stone, stucco, cement—areas that tape will not adhere to easily—Peel-Tek 150 not only adheres, but it seeps down into every crevice and pore, creating a skin-tight barrier that paint will not penetrate. Upon completion of the project, it peels away cleanly leaving no residue. It is also great for use in masking difficult angles, circular patterns, etc.

In a more industrial setting, where does it come in handy?
Peel-Tek 150 is a great product for use on stained concrete. Traditional masking tape cannot be used on stained concrete as there is a chemical reaction between the adhesive in the tape and the finish of the stained concrete and will cause the finish and stain to be damaged. Peel-Tek 150 does not have this problem; it can be used directly on stained concrete without worry of damaging the stain or finish. It is also a great complement to masking paper/plastic to protect surrounding areas before shooting stain. It protects from over-spray and texture, as well as surface protection for tubs, granite counter tops, etc.

What are some benefits a paint retailer can talk up?
One quart of Peel-Tek 150 is equivalent to four rolls of masking tape and will not go bad sitting in your tool box. It can be easily partnered with masking paper/plastic and is able to stay in place for weeks at a time without becoming difficult to remove. It is great for detailed stenciling during custom paint jobs and can be used on both porous and non-porous surfaces.

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FrogTape’s 2018 Design Trends

By Contributing Writer,

Taniya Nayak,
for FrogTape

  Six Ways to Spruce it Up

A lot of folks might think it’s unusual that a painter’s tape manufacturer shares yearly design trends, but great ideas are great ideas wherever they come from. Plus, these ideas should “stick!” To help inspire customers just like yours, Taniya Nayak, a nationally known interior designer, has once again teamed up with FrogTape® brand painter’s tape from ShurTech to share her top home design trends for 2018.

Nayak became well-known as a design expert on HGTV and the Food Network. She owns a Boston-based interior design firm, Taniya Nayak Design LLC, where she adds a fresh, clean look to both commercial and residential spaces. As you’ll see, FrogTape can come in very handy when creating some of these designs. (Remember, it’s all about the project approach.)

Nayak shared six trends to help your customers transform their homes, along with tips on how to integrate them into upcoming décor projects:

 

Oasis

Customers can turn their home into a tropical escape —or hire one of your best painters to do it for them! Adding floral or banana leaf accents can create a staycation-worthy “at-home paradise” no matter the temperature. Nayak suggests pairing pops of metallic gold with plush greens and crisp white to build a look that is sophisticated, yet fun and exotic.

 

Simple to The Max

“Go big or go home…in the simplest way imaginable,” she encourages. Layer multiple patterns on top of one another on smaller décor items, like pillows, for a look that combines clean and chaos.

If layering patterns is too extensive for your customers, another facet of this trend focuses on bold statements with monochromatic colors. A simple way to accomplish this is to start with a bright white wall. Paint baseboards, trim, or window mullions a dramatic contrasting color, like black, for an effortless, yet powerful effect. Here’s where FrogTape comes in. When it comes to achieving clean, sharp paint lines, one of Nayak’s vital, go-to tools is a premium painter’s tape such as FrogTape painter’s tape. Treated with patented PaintBlock® Technology, FrogTape Multi-Surface and Delicate Surface tapes are a great way to get professional-looking results and eliminate the need for touch-ups.

 

Faux Natural

Nayak’s inspiration behind this trend is the subtle patterns created by nature’s textures—think wood grain, geodes, or ocean waves. One way to do this is using earthy tones like browns, beiges, and deep blues combined with vibrant neon colors to generate the effect of the northern lights around the home. Faux bois, or faux wood grain, is a paint treatment that can help weave this trend into a room.

Take a table and apply a neon paint color with a faux wood rubber tool—time to stock up on faux wood rubber tools! Then add in a roll of FrogTape so customers can tape off a cool design to bring the project to the next level. “The neon paint enhances the natural beauty of a simple wood grain,” says Nayak. “It’s all about the magic of introducing an unnatural looking element into a very neutral and natural setting.”

 

Back to the Future

“What’s old is now new, and better than ever before,” says Nayak. She suggests painting a vintage chair with a pop of color to create an eye-catching masterpiece that seamlessly integrates into both retro and modern home décor. Introducing vibrant colors to antiques produces a beautiful new spin on a classic look.

 

Made with Love

Creating customized warm and cozy spaces is “in” this year, she says, and great for customers who want to cozy up their décor with a personal touch.

Painting an accent wall in a pastel color like lavender will set a relaxed and comforting tone to the room. “From there,” she suggests, “add a soft woven blanket, a macramé wall hanging, or ivory plates on a wall to transform just any room to your room.” Small or hand-crafted personal touches like these make this a livable and lovable trend that embraces the imperfectly perfect.

 

New England Preppy

As a true New Englander, Nayak is all about this one. “This style embraces the timeless combination of crisp white linens and navy blues, but what really gives a room an authentic New England vibe is the addition of a camel-colored leather décor accent,” she says.

Easy ways to incorporate this trend into a home include adding monogrammed pillows to a leather accent chair or whitewashing a brick fireplace, creating a look that will never go out of style.

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Small Dealer, HUGE Ideas

By joshbohm,

JOSH BOHM
Contributing Writer

The Paint Store in Van Buren, Arkansas

Earlier this month, Jerry, myself and our band’s singer Ellen were fortunate enough to play at the Old Timer’s Day Steampunk Festival in Van Buren, AR. For those of you who don’t know, Steampunk is late 1800s to early 1900s Sci-Fi where people dress up in their Victorian best, but with all sorts of fictional technology to go with it (think gears and steam power!). Since that’s the exact era of music our band plays, we were a great fit. We were pretty exhausted after playing in the hot sun of the mid-south for three hours so we headed back to the hotel after the festival closed for a quick nap.

Then, right down the road from where we were staying we noticed something…it was a paint store, no…it was THE Paint Store! Before we left we knew we had to go in for a visit, so that’s exactly what we did. After spending some time with owner Sue Moore, we quickly realized that this shop is definitely not like many others. It’s truly more of a hub for contractors and DIYers alike where they can get some great products, learn about paint, or just chew the fat—sometimes actually chew the fat, but more on that later.

 

Sue Moore opened The Paint Store in 1988 in downtown Van Buren (near Fort Smith) to take advantage of a business opportunity. “A local lumber yard that sold paint chose to close,” Moore said. “I started out with no experience in paint, but my family were all artists, so I had a flair for color matching and decorating.” They started small with only a few products, but over time and a move uptown, they’ve now got an amazing variety product for sale in their small shop. “We were in the same building for 25 years and moved to this location five years ago,” said Sue. “We used to have a ‘wall of fame’ at that location that friends and contractors would sign, but we couldn’t move the blocks.” Enter a use for the old menu board outside their new location! They took a picture and put it on the board for everyone to see and remember; a way to meld old with new. Some of the signatories have since passed on, said Moore, and their families often drive by to see their autograph.

 

  

Now, About Those Shelves…

Now, how do you stock when you’re the only independent in the area? It’s not something you learn overnight. Moore mentioned that they started out with Jones•Blair back in the day, and she was very sad to see them bought out. But even with limited space in a small store, every flick of the eye lands upon a different brand or product. How’d she get so much? “It started out as a necessity as we tried to diversify and get as many customers as we could,” she said.

For example, she started carrying waterproofing coatings which then expanded into other industrial coatings as well as a good selection of specialty items such as traffic paints and pool paints. If you think she’s just shooting in the dark with how she stocks, however, you’d be wrong. “Even though you see different brands, they have a specific use that they’re chosen for,” she says. “Because we’re independent, we can pretty much buy anything we want, but we have some product we often go back to. We have ZAR (from UGL), which makes really good high quality sealers and toner products for outside. Richard’s supplied us with the traditional oil base semi transparent stain that we’ve had for decades,” Moore continues, “The Wolman brand has the solid color. They’re owned by Zinsser, who has a good reputation, and we’ve had their product for 25 of our 30 years. We also have Modern Masters metallics; a lot of people like their faux.”

Sure it’s a lot, but her stocking philosophy is actually quite simple. “I’ll sell it as long as I can get my hands on it and it performs,” she tells us. “When we opened the store I felt I needed to have hands on experience with products so I could get the same thing time and time again and know it will hold up down the line and be consistent.”

This brings us to an interesting part of their business, their private labeled product. They started this project about two or three years ago and, Moore reports, it’s really taken off. “We teamed up with Richard’s Paint to private label for us. The Jones•Blair product we carried had such good coverage, and their chemical makeup was what we need here in this part of Arkansas—for instance mildew resistance, and flexibility with the wood as it expands and contracts with different temperature changes.” The house brand from Richard’s has these qualites as well.

But don’t think that Sue just slapped The Paint Store’s name on anything; she did her due diligence. “I paint it at my house so I can say to the customer that this is what I use. I can tell them from experience how it washes or fades.”

She had some deep reasons for partnering with Richard’s, and along with the private label she carries a lot of Richard’s own brand as well. “We like Richard’s product. We were looking for a small company because they tend to take care of their customers better. You can call and speak to the person you want to talk to; even a member of the Richard family. Their sales rep comes by whenever he’s through town—not just once a quarter. He lives in Jane MO, a little bitty town just north of the border.”

 

Steak & Eggs

In addition to its brand of paint, The Paint Store also has its own brand of Certified Grassfed Beef! Sue and her husband Tom have the first farm in Arkansas that has been certified as Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World. When asked about this curious combination of paint and beef, Sue noted that raising grass fed cattle was actually easier than more conventional methods. “We felt like we wanted a farm but we didn’t want a lot of hands on, so we focus on animal welfare. You don’t run your cows though the chutes all the time, poke them with needles, and feed them grain all the time, they only forage. They eat grass, hay, and alfalfa kind of like cows used to do centuries ago before the feedlot system.

“The calves are born and we raise them until they are ready for processing,” she continued. “We take them to an Animal Welfare approved processor, B&R processing in Winslow, AR. We have a freezer and fridge [at the store] and we sell free range chicken eggs, hamburger meat, and steaks.”

When the obvious question of how that works in a paint store comes up, she noted that just like many customers like healthier paint, they like their food the same way. “The trend is to eat healthier and know more about what you’re consuming, and we have quite a following. Some days we may sell more meat than paint!” Jerry and I had to take her word for it, because no matter how delicious it would have been then, no meat would taste good after sitting in a car for six hours on our drive back to St. Louis!

 

   

Lost in Space

Every store has its problems with tackling space limitations. At The Paint Store, Sue and assistant Vicki Hargrove come up with commonsense yet creative ways to maximize what they can fit in their space. You’re not going to see a lot of sad, empty shelves, here! “It’s no real secret,” Sue says, “I’m not going to waste an extra inch of space between shelves and it’s the same way in our outdoor storage areas—shelves. We don’t waste
any space.”

Using some of the building’s former life to her advantage, Sue tells us, “We try to keep volatile products outside. This was a restaurant before we moved here and one of those outbuildings was a freezer. It’s still insulated, so it makes for excellent storage as it keeps things cool in the summer and in the winter keeps them from freezing.” She looked at a few square feet with nothing in it. “Looks like we need a shelf here, too,” she mused.

Still, sometimes you simply run out of space, regardless of how efficient you are, but Moore has it all under control. “We also have a just in time warehousing facility and we occasionally use them to warehouse volume product if we have big projects going up. It adds a bit to our expense, but I can order 5,000 gallons and have it shipped over there. Having that space available helps to stretch if we need it.” When you have mastery of organizing your space, you can worry about selling more paint and not where to put it!

 

Miles of Files in the Aisles

Now we get to the juicy stuff, and I’m not talking about steak! I’m talking about tricks and tips they’ve learned over the years to make the shop run as smooth as can be. Here’s a few of their trade secrets. “The way we keep up with customers colors is unique for these days,” Sue says, “I make up a little recipe card with the formulas, file it under contractor’s name, and after contractor is done with the job we file it under the homeowners name so we can pull it back out when we need to.”

Sue brings it home: “I put a sample of each color on the back so I can maintain that consistency. I had to buy some big file cabinets because I don’t throw anything away for at least 10 years, and even 15 on some projects, because you don’t need to paint for a while,” she adds. “People can come back and get the same thing and we have records. Some people say we should keep it on the computer, and I said I can’t keep a sample of your paint in the computer screen, I could write it down and keep a formula in there but you can’t always be sure. It may be the old fashioned way but I think it’s the right way.”

Another trick that should be a no-brainer for local business: get involved! “By doing the right thing and being responsible and respectful of other people we have gained a good reputation,” Sue says. “We support local people here: 4H, baseball and football teams, frisbee golf; they want their $40 ads and we try to support our customers and their kids in those sports. The Sherwin-Williams and Lowe’s in the world don’t really touch the community on a one on one basis.”

Now comes the obvious and over-asked question of anyone in a gender-dominated field. Does she have problems being a female dealer? The answer is a resounding not anymore! “It was a problem back in 1988,” she explains. “In the beginning I was learning a lot since I didn’t know anything about paint. I would ask contractors about paint products and how they covered and want them to tell me how my products worked. Now I’m a go-to person for paint knowledge.” She tells us one story: “I had issues with some sales reps from some bigger corporate companies and one in particular…so I don’t carry their paint.” It wasn’t because the paint was bad, she said frankly, but due to the lack of respect. Being an independent dealer, she could throw the rep—and his paint—out the door.

She finishes this off with one last thing, “Most of my customers come to us because their parents and grandparents got paint from us. I have kids—where I remember when they were born—that are now my customers. Alot of it is word of mouth: ‘you need to talk to Sue and Vicki at The Paint Store because they know.’” After spending this morning with them, it was pretty obvious they DO know, and as the only independent dealer in the Arkansas River Valley, they are primed for success well into the future!

  Filed under: Dealer Profile, Feature
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2018 in the Books (National Hardware Show Wrap Up)

By Jerry Rabushka,

 

 .

National Hardware Show Points to Upbeat Industry

If you’ve been to a lot of National Hardware Shows over the years, you know it doesn’t take long to figure out what people are thinking. If they’re not happy, they’ll let you know pretty quick. If they don’t think there’s enough traffic, enough serious buyers, a simple “how are you?” will spill the tea. And while it might be cliché to say that “this year’s show was upbeat and positive,” we didn’t hear anyone complaining. Traffic was steady, interest was high, new products and ideas were cool, and “inventions” showed a lot of ingenuity. What’s not to like?

If you notice a little different look to things NHS, it’s because a lot of time was spent to make sure 2018’s changes had impact. “This year’s show is all about new: from our logo and branding to 500+ new exhibitors,” said Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show®. “There were new experiences everywhere you turn, and new products to bring back to your stores.”

Folks who attended found out about these products even before our loyal readers! “It’s always nice to come to the show and get the chance to network and to see new products,” says Adam Busscher, owner of Picton Home Hardware Building Centre in Picton, Ontario. “We came looking for the latest and greatest products before our competitors can find them.”

 

Let’s Talk

There are a lot of opportunities to walk around at the show to learn and network, but just as fruitful are the chances to sit in one place and hear some insight from industry experts.

Featured speaker Andrea Ridout presented “Rooster Economics—Understanding Your Flock Can Help You Sell Your Business,” where she talked about how her company mascot, George the Rooster, helped her take a closer look at her business and build a “nest egg.”

“In my businesses, I learned that the most important thing is knowing your ‘peeps,’” she said. “As hardware store owners, those are your customers. That’s where your focus needs to be.”

It’s a familiar tune, but it’s one a lot of successful retailers keep singing: Ridout stressed the importance of evolving and growing to stay competitive. “If you don’t change, your competition will eat you up, or your customers will abandon you to start buying online,” she said. “You don’t need to be a visionary, but keep your eyes open. Sometimes the next big trend is right under your nose.”

Scott Reynolds, CEO of Member Insurance, talked about cybersecurity and what retailers could do to avoid data breaches in their business. “You may not believe you’re the target, and that’s what the cyber criminals want,” Reynolds said

“They’re looking for you. Exposure to cybercrimes is real; it’s significant, and it’s on the rise. Cybercrimes are more and more directed at small businesses that likely don’t have the necessary encryptions or firewalls in place.”

 

Seven Times the Power

In another presentation, the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and Independent We Stand shared the results of its latest Home Sweet Home Study, which included original research about the impact on local communities when consumers purchase home improvement products at their local stores rather than on Amazon.

“Seven times more money stays local when a consumer shops at a local hardware store instead of making the same purchase online from Amazon,” says Dan Tratensek, executive vice president and publisher with NRHA.

“From the beginning of our journey with these Home Sweet Home studies, our results have proven that when consumers make their home improvement purchases through locally owned businesses, the local communities benefit,” he said.

“Nine out of ten consumers understand the importance of independent businesses,” added Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “If they can find you, that’s key. They will seek you out and support you.”

 

Elite Eight

It’s Las Vegas, so someone should win something, even though at NHS it’s more hard work than luck that sends you home with a trophy. Several awards programs throughout the week honored the best of the best in the industry, and along with products, retailers themselves often get a turn in the spotlight. NRHA recognized eight Young Retailer of the Year honorees.

These listed below are 35 years old or younger and are recognized for their achievements in growing their businesses and continuing their hardware education, as well as their innovative work as they look to the future of the industry.
• Byron Clouse, Owner, Lewiston Ace Hardware, Lewiston, Michigan.
• Diana Newton, VP, Bay Hardware, Seal Beach, California.
• Megan Zarbano, Owner, Handy Hardware & Rental, Valley City, North Dakota.
• Mike Wilson, GM & Dealer-Owner, Wilson’s Home Hardware Building Centre, Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia.
• Nate Ludwig, GM, Dazey’s Building Center, Garberville, California.
• Ronna Kilts, Manager, Mattson’s True Value Hardware, Howard City, Michigan.
• Sean Angelo, GM Budget Home Supply, Longmont, Colorado.
• Taylor Baker, Owner, Foothills Hardware & Builders Supply, Pilot Mountain, North Carolina.

Some past Young Retailer honorees took to the stage to share their insights and offer advice on managing small businesses. “Stay focused on what you do well, then do that better,” says David Dishke, president of Grand River Home Hardware in Caledonia, Ontario. “Bring customers to your store, and once they’re there, figure out what else you can sell them.”

“When you put your personal touch on things, it becomes less monotonous and more than what’s simply between the four walls of the store,” says Joe Franquinha of Crest True Value and Urban Garden Center in New York. “Find things that help you separate yourself from the path.”

 

Final Four

Four retailers were recognized as Top Guns by the NRHA. “The Top Guns program is centered on highlighting retailers who put every ounce of themselves into their business, and it shows,” said Bob Cutter, NRHA president and CEO.

The four winners:
• Amanda Fancy, dealer-owner, Gow’s Home Hardware, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
• Jamie Gentner, CEO, Center Hardware & Supply, San Francisco.
• Megan Menzer, owner, Newton’s True Value, two locations in Kansas.
• Angela Merritt, GM, Ederer’s Do it Best, three locations in Wisconsin.

 

100 is Grand

One of the big prizes from the show was the $100,000 awarded to the winner if the Reimagine Retail Program. To enter, retailers were asked to describe how they would use technology to improve their businesses. Each entrant submitted a 250-word plan detailing how they would incorporate technology in their operations.

Matt Woods, CEO of Woods Hardware in Cincinnati, Ohio, was chosen as the winner of the program, now in its second year. The store plans to use the prize money to implement a program allowing it to offer same-day delivery to customers within a three-mile radius of each of its five stores.

The business has already developed a 3D walkthrough of its downtown store that links to the e-commerce website. Their plan will allow customers to virtually walk through the aisles of the store, click on an item and have it delivered the same day. To implement the system, Woods Hardware needs to make significant improvements to its POS system so it can send accurate inventory data to the website in real time. The company also wants to hire a full-time IT professional to manage the system.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” says Woods. “We’ve had this ready to rock and roll—now we just have to hire the team to upgrade our systems. With this prize, we can start taking steps to put our plan in to action.”

“This year, we asked our retailers, ‘If you had $100,000 to spend on improving your retail business’s technology, how would you invest it?’” said NHS-VP Rich Russo. “These finalists came up with some really great innovative ideas. We received a number of different submissions, and it was a difficult decision. Congratulations to all of our finalists.”

You’ve got a year to plan: so add the next National Hardware Show to your calendar now! May 7-9, 2019. We hate to make the usual pun, but not so much that we won’t—it’s a sure bet you’ll find some great products and ideas next year in Las Vegas!

 

Hardware Highlights

Our feet were tired, but you can put on some slippers and peruse some of the show from the comfort of your own home, store, or…facilities. Following are some highlights from both new and long-time attendees. Manufactures: if you don’t see yourself here, please send us your NHS information for a future issue.

 

Paint it on, peel it off

Just as important as putting paint where it belongs is keeping it from where it doesn’t. Since paint is made to stay where you put it, a drip or splat in a hard to reach or hard to clean area can add significant time and agony to a project and give a contractor a substantial pay cut.

The invention section of the hardware show features a lot of new products and new product ideas, and a walk through is almost like going to an outdoor market with everyone pulling you over and hawking their wares. Like a character looking for an author, there are many great ideas looking for an investor, while other products are already on the market ready to roll onto a display.

One of the interesting products in this environment was Peel-Tek® 150, the flagship product of Peel-Tek, LLC. Here’s a one sentence description that just about tells all: it is designed to keep paint out from where you don’t want it to go. The company describes is as “a temporary protective surface coating and liquid masking that dries to form a contour-hugging, skin-tight protective coating on porous and non-porous surfaces.”

It will protect these surfaces from damage caused by over-spray, staining, surface scratches, spills and drops, which can prevent costly clean up during and upon completion of construction. Once you’re done, it peels away cleanly. It can also be used as an aide in protecting heavy traffic areas and sensitive surfaces against staining and abrasion during construction, storage, and transport.

Company CMO Michelle Mitchell continued that it can be used on a bundle of surfaces including wood (treated and non-treated, porous and non-porous), porcelain, granite, marble, quartz, ceramic, Travertine tile, cement, mortar, stucco, brick, aluminum, glass, and stone.

Let your pro painters try it, she urges, and it will save them time and money and enhance their reputation—and as a result, yours! “Peel-Tek 150 allows the professional to establish builder image and integrity while saving bottom line dollars lost due to surface damage. It increases customer satisfaction, and therefore increases customer referrals,” she said.

It’s easy to use, too: just roll or brush it on to the desired area needing surface protection and/or masking, allow to cure and peel off upon completion of the project. (Make sure customers know this is not to be used as a permanent coating.)

“In many instances, Peel-Tek 150 can be used instead of tape as it adheres to hard to mask surfaces like stone and mortar as well as difficult to mask angles, making it a better option than masking tape,” she said. “It can also be used in conjunction with masking paper/plastic as it acts as a double sided adhesive, sticking both to the paper or plastic, and to the surface, all while leaving no residue behind when removed. Peel-Tek 150 can be left on the protected surface for weeks and still peel away cleanly.”

 

Don’t wash your hands of this one

Another cool product, Workman’s Friend, came from Packaging Service Company, the makers of the popular Latex Agent. Back in the day, (and don’t say you didn’t), kids would immerse their hands in turpentine to get paint off, and it was really fun. Now we want something safer, but just as much fun!

Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is designed to protect, clean, and moisturize hardworking hands. It works like an invisible glove to protect hands from exposure to grease, chemicals, grime, glue, dirt, paint, and plant oils—even poison ivy! Sure it’s great for contractors but your DIY customers will want it for a variety of tasks around the house—like pulling up that poison ivy. Before tackling the job, apply the cream to your skin to form a protective barrier. It is water resistant and does not get washed away with cleanser up to four hours.

After the job is completed, a single wipe and hands are clean. Now that’s even more fun than turpentine! And it can go beyond hands to arms, legs, and face for better protection during bigger projects. Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream also effectively hydrates and moisturizes damaged skin, so you can use it as your daily skin moisturizer, the company tells us.

“The National Hardware Show was a great opportunity for Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream launch—our sales team did an excellent job in demonstrating the product, and communicating the product benefits to the customers,” said the company’s Irene Shen. “We have received very positive feedback from domestic market as well as interest from overseas.”

 

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Froggin’ It

FrogTape® brand painters tape, at the ShurTech booth, showed us its new marketing campaign—Frog It™. The folks at the ShurTech booth noted how the brand is intensifying its focus on contractors, and in support of that, unveiled some new products and technology. They’re aware that pro painters take pride on their ability to cut in by hand and get it right the first time. But sometimes a paint job needs tape, and if a pro painter finallllyyy admits he needs tape, he probably won’t give it a second chance if it doesn’t help him work faster and better and cleaner and sharper. For these scenarios, FrogTape brand painter’s tape says, it’s time to Frog It!

They first frogged it at the National Hardware Show, where attendees got a sneak look at the new marketing campaign and some new products. Are painters your bread and butter? Then it’s good to have their bread and butter products to go with the bagels and butter—well, cream cheese—you have for them in the morning. “With a commitment to meeting the needs of the contractor, the FrogTape brand understands and acknowledges the professional painter’s natural skill and pride in their work. Frog It! demonstrates how the brand’s tape products can support the painting professional, help them save time and money, and achieve the sharpest paint lines possible,” says the company. “If something is worth taping, it’s worth using the best tape available to make sure they deliver the sharp lines, precise resultsm and clean removal thatprofessionals and their customers expect.”

At the show, the company showed how it is responding to evolving industry needs, including keeping its products contemporary with changing paint formulas. This way, painters can be sure their tape will adhere completely and uniformly, regardless of the paint brand, color, or sheen. For example, FrogTape Multi-Surface now features a new adhesive specially formulated for hard-to-stick-to paints and surfaces, yet still delivering the same 21-day removal. FrogTape painter’s tapes are treated with patented PaintBlock® Technology, a super-absorbent polymer that reacts with the water in latex paint and instantly gels to form a micro-barrier. This barrier seals the edges of the tape, preventing paint bleed and creating clean, crisp lines.

We know that you know that we’ve described these products before, but just like on the flight to Vegas when we all listened to the safety instruction yet one more time (we did, didn’t we?), it never hurts to re-read a product description so you can have it top of mind for questioning customers.

FrogTape products that incorporate PaintBlock Technology include:

• FrogTape Multi-Surface painter’s tape is a medium-adhesion premium painter’s tape designed for an array of surfaces including cured painted walls, wood, metal, glass and now, hard-to-stick-to paints and surfaces. It can stay on surfaces for up to 21 days prior to painting (seven days in direct sunlight) and should be removed immediately after painting. The signature FrogTape canister protects the tape edge against dust and debris, as well as nicks and dents that can ruin the tape edge during storage. Available in a variety of widths to meet any project need.

• A low adhesion painter’s tape, FrogTape Delicate Surface painter’s tape can be applied to fresh paint (dried for at least 24 hours), wallpaper, faux finishing and used in decorative painting projects and more. The lower adhesion level helps prevent surface damage and can stay on surfaces for up to 60 days prior to painting. It should be removed immediately after painting.

 

   

PPG Launches New Programs

People like to see stuff at work, and PPG answered the call. Its architectural coatings team engaged attendees with demonstrations featuring newly unveiled products from Glidden® Paint and Olympic® Exterior Stain.

Glidden is now positioned to provide independent retailers a differentiated paint assortment in order to expand selling opportunities for incremental sales growth. Dealers who attended this show got the first look at the relaunched Glidden program, which features a DIY-friendly strategy with a strengthened product mix that includes ready-mix GRAB-N-GO™ assortments, specialty paint products, refreshed consumer-friendly labels, and an improved color platform utilizing PPG The Voice of Color® display.

Grab-N-Go generated a lot of excitement, and dealers also got a look at a demo of Glidden One Coat, where attendees were shown the benefits of exceptional hide offered by the products interior and exterior lines. Glidden One Coat is a super-premium paint with one coat coverage to save time and money. It offers exceptional hide and stain block properties as well as excellent scrubbability. (One Coat Coverage applies only when tinted to colors specified for Glidden One Coat paints.) L

The Olympic stain brand, also available through the independent dealer, introduced Olympic SmartGuard stain along with ProjectPro Tool, designed to help customers in product selection. There’s no day like today, so if you can get your deck done “today” then there’s no day like tomorrow either…because the deck is done! Action-packed demos showed the waterproofing protection properties of Olympic SmartGuard and the all-climate protection of Olympic Elite urethane-fortified stains versus other leading stain brands.

A first-of-its-kind product in North America, according to the company, Olympic SmartGuard allows your painters and DIYers to clean, apply, and best of all…enjoy their deck…all in one day! It is a super concentrated formula in a lightweight, easy-to-handle pouch package. Drying in as little as one hour after application (as compared to 24-48 hours for traditional products), it provides a durable, super water-resistant seal.

Unlike traditional stain products, there is no brushing required—easy spray-on application allows customers work faster. The creative packaging allows for shelf optimization and can be easily merchandised at your paint counter, on shelf, or in the stand-alone merchandising display.

Olympic’s ProjectPro tool, designed to help answer questions about color and product, was also available for tryout. “Simply answer a few quick questions about the condition of your deck, fence, furniture or other surface—as well as your desired outcome—and the Project Pro tool takes care of the rest,” they tell us. “Not only will customers have the opportunity to visualize various stain colors and transparencies, the tool will even deliver how-to tips and tricks directly to their inbox.”

PPG has more than paint in its portfolio, and it demonstrated some of its other products as well. A before and after demo illustrated the distinct difference that Homax Tough As Tile can deliver to colored and dingy sinks, tubs, and tile, while another demo showed how Homax offered the wall repair products needed to deliver an Invisible Repair™. Various substrates were applied to a wood panel to show that Liquid Nails Fuze*It All Surface construction adhesive bonds many different substrates and demonstrated instant grab properties.

 

Pretty as a Picture

The Shelfie, from Cashel LLC, was a big hit with the paint community, according to the manufacturer, who notes that “Take a selfie of your Shelfie,” was heard over and over at the Cashel booth, located in the Made in the USA section. A new Workspace Shelf Solution Designed to Fit on any Utility Sink, Tub, Cooler, and More The Shelfie™ is a portable, already assembled, easy to install, instant shelf and drainboard that simply attaches to any ledge with a 2″ lip. The Shelfie is made in the USA from heavy-duty, waterproof and stain resistant polypropylene. Once installed, the shelf can easily adjust to different levels for easy draining.

 

Complete Your Concrete

Re-Design, from Prima Marketing, Inc., demonstrated its unique collection of concrete stencils. The company was new to the show and many folks—including the staff at The Paint Dealer—were wowed by its decorative product, which showed us just how boldly imaginative you can get with stencils, plus opens up a new market for folks who want to really do right by their concrete. This booth was packed with onlookers from start to finish and it’s easy to see why. “The attendees were drawn to our booth because we offer new and unique tools for any DIY enthusiast,” said Denny Dupra-Ruffner, company branding and product director. “Our products complement other products such as paint supplies, concrete, and design ideas for living spaces. Our booth design and staging really drew in buyers to see the overall potential that our products have to offer.”

If your customers enjoy unique designs and the chance to customize their surroundings, this is definitely a product to look into, as homeowners as well as pro painters can stencil up some pretty cool stuff without a lot of hard work. “Not only do we pride ourselves in the designs of our DIY collection, but we also try to offer unique concepts that are new to the market,” said Dupra-Ruffner. “Our tools are easy to use, diverse, and can be applied to many lifestyle projects for an upscale look that anyone can do—from the beginner to advanced DIYer.”

Denny suggested that the product is a great add-on to many of the things you already sell. “Paints and paint supplies can be used with our decor stencils,” he said. “Waxes and moulds can be used to give cabinets, furniture, or any decor project a high-end look with ease. The concrete moulds can be used with any kind of concrete offered in hardware or garden stores, to give an outdoor space a bit of personality. Prima also offers videos, projects, and step by step tutorials on a variety of social media platforms to inspire creativity and education on a daily basis for customers.”

The Prima crew itself had a great time at the show, said Denny. From a vendor perspective, you want to meet and talk with different manufacturers, and many vendors are surprised as to who expresses interest. You never know where that amazing opportunity will come from. “Overall, our reception at the show was wonderful,” he said. “The event staff was helpful and professional from start to finish, making sure our experience was a great one! And we were welcomed by many other vendors that exhibited at the show as well. The networking throughout the show was impressive,” he continued. “We were able to meet so many buyers from all over the world and discuss a variety of potential opportunities based on different markets.”

 

Drop In to the Tarp Display

PXpro™ Paint Sundries, part of the World and Main family of brands, had many products at its booth, and was especially interested showing its new line of high-quality tarps designed for professionals and DIY homeowners. These professional-grade tarps are manufactured in a variety of popular sizes and thicknesses to meet the needs of the industry. The tarps fit seamlessly into the PXpro brand that has built its success on the promise of superior quality paired with great value.

The packaging on these is really cool—you might think “it’s a dropcloth, what more can they do?” but with this packaging, it’s very easy for painters to know what they’re getting before they open the bag. Each thickness option is clearly marked on the tarp package and the merchandising materials to avoid confusion and aid in the sale. Additionally, a sample swatch of the tarps is attached to the top of the package for easier selection.

From a consumer angle, the tarp line is designed for those who want products that are durable enough to last job after job. The tarps are rot and rust proof, have a double laminated coating and a strong, rope-reinforced hem. They are also tear resistant, UV protected, and mold and mildew resistant. The 3-millimeter and 5-millimeter versions include aluminum grommets, and the 10-millimeter versions include polycarbonate grommets.

Mark Francazio, Category Director, Paint Sundries, notes that these tarps “cover” the needs of pro painters as well. “By adding to our existing product offering, we can meet the needs of the paint professional and equip them with quality products that can handle the strain of use, day in and day out,” he said. Francazio went on to add that the design of the PXpro tarps is essential to providing professionals what they need: “Professional painters know what they want, and by listening to the needs of the market, we have included a variety of features—such as rust resistance and reinforced corners—to allow painting professionals to complete the job without worrying about the tools they are using letting them down.

With its extensive line of brushes, roller covers, paint kits, plastic sheeting and now tarps, PXpro has established itself as a go-to brand for painting contractors and DIY homeowners,” Francazio said.

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