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A Baker's Dozen

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Ask a dozen New Yorkers, “who has the City’s best bagels?” and you may get thirteen answers!

For me the top bagel is H & H.

But it's a big city and H & H is on the Upper East Side! If I’m on the West Side when the hankering hits for New York’s favorite morning nosh, I go to Absolute Bagel.

Typically served with a schmear, a generous slathering of cream cheese, New York’s carb king is the foundation for the Jewish soul food my non-paint grandparents left me with a taste for. The flavors of smoked fish so transcendent, only the best bagel can play the supporting roll.

To order it like a New Yawkuh you’d say, “let me get cream cheese and belly-lox on a sesame with onions and capers.”

The traditional Jewish breakfast is worth the schlep from Stamford to THE city.

Just don’t order it toasted or they’ll know you’re from out of town!

Leaving the Holiday Inn in Cookeville, Tennessee Wednesday morning, I would have been thinking about the agenda for my 11:00 a.m. meeting with the seeker of my paint knowledge, THE Grasshopper, Zach Maddux.

Walking past the front desk, the clerk’s Southern Hospitality bubbled out! “Hey, would y’all some breakfast to take with you?”

Offering from a selection of handheld breakfast items the hotel had prepared for busy travelers to grab-and-go, I settled on a bagel.

Asking for cream cheese, because in Cookeville I knew better than to ask for a schmear!

Leaving me to wonder if H & H delivers?


Columbia Paint is struggling with issues which will sound familiar to paint dealers living through the Covid-19 economy: during a time of meteoric increases in sales, Columbia has been unable to add to their staff due the labor shortage.

While sales rise at a meteoric rate.

Like most dealers I speak with recently, much of Columbia Paint’s increased revenue is coming from painters, most who were customers of Columbia’s one Sherwin-Williams store, until shortages sent them the .8-mile down Carmack Boulevard to the counter at Columbia Paint.

Where Columbia’s newest customers are finding plenty of paint available thanks to the efforts of #DanCalkinsDelivers and the supply chain team at Benjamin Moore!

But they had better get there early! Due to staffing shortages, Columbia Paint is currently closing at 3:00 p.m. A step necessary to give Zach and his team time to tint the paint which they’ve promised to have available when the store re-opens the next morning.

The volume of paint going out the front door also makes for problems at the back! Zach’s loading dock needs to be cleared of product nightly, making room for more of the same when they open the doors at 6:30 a.m. the next morning.

The pace, leaves little time for the proper processing of the inbound inventory. With no time to check that the items received match the packing slip, and that the packing slip matches the purchase order, the product is often on the walls before Zach has time to check the paperwork.

After I shared my view that there is no such thing as a successful dealer who poor inventory controls, we added a conversation about how to manage your inventory when you have no time to manage your inventory to our agenda!

THE Paint Savant

Despite some recent bumps in the road, Zach and his father Zeke are doing a lot of things right!

In addition to their recent growth in architectural coatings sales, the three-generation Columbia Paint recently added industrial lacquers from Diamond-Vogel to their product mix, with great success. The often drop-shipped industrial lacquers add revenue and profits, without pushing any more product across Columbia’s already busy dock and sales floor.

Back Behind THE Counter

Little has changed in a paint store in the two-years since I was last behind the counter. THE Grasshopper, happy to discover that my experience still applies!


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