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Billy Would Not Agree!

My father Billy was old school, and a great defender of the technological status quo!

I remember an argument I had with my father early in my career. “What do we need a fax machine for? We are not a bank!” Was the last thing I heard as I walked down to Staples to buy Tremont Paint's first-ever fax machine!

When I shared my view that we needed a POS system and automatic tinters, he started talking retirement!

Of course, it wasn’t just the march of technology which my father resisted! It was the march of chemistry too!

In the waning days of my Billy’s tenure at Tremont Paint (the late 80’s to the early 90’s) latex had generally replaced alkyds, oil-based paints, as the broadwall paint of choice for DIY and professional painters. Quick to dry and low odor, consumers and painters a like flocked to the friendlier water based coatings.

Doors and trim though would resist the change to latex. At least initially.

Requiring a hard finish for durability and a longer dry-time to achieve a smooth finish, oil-based paints remained the choice of professional and DIY painters for these surfaces. Sticking with alkyds was my father’s choice as well. He never trusted the water-based paints to stick to the previous coat of alkyd.

Pure Acrylic

As my father’s store became mine, the term “pure acrylic” became as much a part of the paint store lexicon as the terms “VOC” and “self-priming” are in your stores today.

Pure acrylics, an acrylic resin with none of the less expensive PVA’s and vinyl’s, should have changed my father’ view of water-based paints. Pure acrylics had an impressive ability to stick to hard surfaces, such as previously painted alkyds.

Products like Suprime 1 from Pratt & Lambert and 1-2-3 from Zinsser became ubiquitous. Fresh Start from Benjamin Moore would not be far behind.

Low odor, fast drying, with an ability to stick to seemingly any surface made pure acrylics an easy replacement for most alkyds.

Despite my father's lack of trust, the product stuck with us. Not be long after pure acrylics hit the shelves in a paint store alkyds and Bill Lipton, were a rare site behind the counter.

Dad retired (and died!) never believing that you can paint a water based paint over a previous coat of oil based.

Selecting Color

We don’t sell paint, we sell color! And we all know it! So I am never surprised when industry people share their view that consumers will be reluctant to buy paint online giving as their reason that: the variations between the color as displayed on the screen and the “real” color will be too much to overcome.

But for the vast majority of consumers the color on the screen is just fine!

Despite a warning I place on all the sites I build which says, “On-screen and printer color representations may vary from actual paint colors,” most consumers won’t even notice the statement! Let alone a shading difference between what they bought online and what is in the can.

To a consumer accustomed to buying cars, houses and leashes for their chickens online, what’s makes a can of paint any different?

And of-course while it’s also true that the sample on your screen MAY not match the “standard,” neither does your chip in the store! Both likely “off” by only the same few percentage-points.

A modern computer monitor can represent 256 versions of each of its three primary colors: red, green and blue. Multiply that out and most modern computer screens can display over 16,000,000 colors. Three-thousand of which they can come into your stores to get a chip or sample of!

And all 16,000,000, can be painted over an alkyd!


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