I’m a fan of the literary license. What storyteller hasn’t made the fish a little bigger? But I have to say: calling the space of land between San Antonio and Texarkana, TX, “the Hill Country” is closer to lying than literary license!
I completed the first leg of my journey home today: San Antonio to Texarkana: about 450 miles. And in-case its not clear from the creative name of the town I’m sleeping in, I’m currently in a hotel room at the intersection of Texas and Arkansas but close enough to Oklahoma to use that final “a!”
My hope to make it to Texarkana before Dot’s Ace-a full-line Benjamin Moore dealer in town-closed at 5 PM we’re dashed early when I realized I’d have to drive straight through.
I don’t like to rush when I drive. I like to stop and look at the sights (such that they are here in “Hill Country”). Also, let’s be real here; I’m a 56 year old man who likes soda.....so driving non-stop is not really an option!
So I ditched Dot and headed to Ace Hardware on Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas. I immediately noticed that it didn’t have a name like “Dot’s Ace.” Just “Ace Hardware.” I’d like to think that they liked the branding and didn’t just get lazy when they picked the name.
I introduced myself to the paint manager, Mikel. Mikel told me that they’ve been a Ben Moore dealer for less than a month and he had a nice new 6-foot rack to prove it! He had the Regal and Ben assortment with the rest of his line (floor paints, primers, less expensive alternatives, etc.) filled in with a mixture of Clark & Kensington, Zinsser and a few other odd products. They had a nice selection of stains too with what looked like the full line from both Minwax and Cabot’s!
I asked Mikel how the Ben Moore was going and he shared that it was too soon to tell. Mostly, they’ve just had people looking at colors, not a lot of sales yet. You can see; the shelves look pretty full! The fives on the floor are all Regal and Ben as well.
Btw, that’s a decent price on BIN! Make sure to talk to your vendor to make sure you can compete!
I grabbed some caramel from his selection of candy and got back on the road. There are some pics of their paint department below.
Along my route I often saw signs saying “Texas Historical Marker” next to grave stone-looking markers by the sides of the highways. I got curious! Turns out that the Texas “Historical” Society learned a thing or two from the people who named it Hill Country!
Historical was a bit of a stretch! But.....I do know that in 1836, on a spot that’s now bone dry and on the shoulder of a highway, there used to be a ferry and a bridge.
I didn’t stop at any others. that last one was enriching enough to last until Arkansas!
I had a great conversation on the phone with my cousin Paul: almost an hour! That’s impressive for me because I’m not know for talking on the phone for too long. Guy says when I’ve had enough talking, usually just a few minutes, I give her what she calls the “LBO” which stands for “Lipton Brush Off.” That quick “Ok, love you-bye!”
Buck Wheat tells me the same thing so I guess that means they’re both liars!
I caught up on all my favorite podcasts including “The Retail Focus” which I highly recommend.
And I let my mind wonder.
Tomorrow I think I’m going to test the speakers more than a podcast can do. My tastes in music are pretty varied so you never know what I’ll listen to but for sure; there will be Springsteen!
I saw what must be the worlds largest gas station today: over 50 pumps! The store was the size of a supermarket! Everything really IS bigger in Texas. Everything except the price of gas: $1.89! We are at like $2.29 in CT!
The Beemer was a good call! Super comfy, fast, smooth at 100, good sound system and cheap on gas at over 30 MPG. And it got a complement from a Texan who badly needed a shower! But he liked my BMW so I didn’t let him see that I was holding my breath!
Lunch and dinner were both bummers. Because basically everything but the chains are closed on Sundays in the Texas “Hill” Country. Jersey Mike’s for lunch (tuna with onions) and Outback “Steakhouse” (which was also named by the Texas “Hill Country” people) were about my only options short of fast food.
Ok, time to plan my day tomorrow. My first time on Arkansas soil: my 42nd state!
Tomorrow I’ll have some more pictures AND a very big surprise for you. And of course.....a stop at another independent paint retailer!
This was a great idea!
PS Thank you Harry!