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Can I Call You Mike?

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

“Next year, remind me not to get so carried away when I decorate the house for Christmas” I heard her grumble as she laid the nutcrackers in their cardboard caskets. Preparing the Christmas soldiers for their year-long interment.

Or maybe longer? The cancellation of Christmas plans for the second year in a row due to Covid put a damper on the traditional final day of the holiday season: undecoration day!

THE grumbler in my story of course is my often overly-holiday-spirited fiancéeic Gaetana, who the family calls Guy.

With my reminder that I gave her exactly that advice earlier this year I was excused from participating in the undecorating process sans for dragging the tree outside and putting the Menorah away.

It’s the least a Jew who won’t see the point of the Christmas decorations until my 57-year-old fiancéeic is not the youngest person in the house, can do!

The reprieve leaving me time to get into the kitchen and simmer a batch of my from-scratch chicken soup for a family member home with Covid.

Whether or not my chicken soup possesses the mystical healing properties of the traditional Jewish Penicillin remains up for debate. But I have no problems getting my patients to take their medicine!

T’was the Season

The paint industry goes silent over the holiday season with most news and announcements from the channel’s c-suites on hiatus during the Christmas-New Year break.

But with the holidays behind us and corporate America heading back to work, the country’s second largest paint maker PPG released the independent channel’s first major announcement of the year.

The announcement leaving PPG dealers wishing the paint-maker had remained silent!

On January 5, PPG announced that they are expanding their relationship with the nation’s largest home improvement retailer Home Depot; the company making their line of professional coatings available at Home Depot and HD Supply locations around the country. HD Supply is the big box retailer’s wholly-owned subsidiary and one of the nation’s largest distributors of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products.

The announcement shared that the company’s best-selling professional products such as Speedhide,Permanizer and Breakthrough will soon be available in the nearly all of the 3,000 combined locations of Home Depot and HD Supply. You can see the full list of products here.

The change in distribution strategy causing the PPG dealers I spoke with to worry about their ability to remain competitive in the professional painter segment, which represents as much as 85% of the brand’s volume in some stores.

In their announcement PPG shared that they, “look forward to utilizing PPG’s team of paint experts, leading professional paint products, and national, digital fulfillment network in combination with The Home Depot’s vast national store footprint to service the professional and drive strong growth for both organizations.”

The run-on sentence leaving the dealers I spoke with feeling the move would be a dagger to the profit margins and sales they currently enjoy with the brand.

Despite recent financial successes due to the Covid economy, news that PPG's best-selling professional coatings will be available at 3,000 Home Depot-owned locations comes at a difficult time for PPG dealers. The company’s ongoing supply chain woes combined with its failure to prioritize dealer needs in an era marked by shortages had already conspired to make 2021 a difficult year for the PPG dealers I spoke with.

The network of PPG dealers, representing (approx) $300 million in purchases from the 139-year-old paint maker now find themselves forced to compete with the country's largest home-improvement retailer to sell products which formally were only available at PPG company-owned stores or and independent retailer.

Of-course, PPG CEO Mike McGarry is free to distribute paint however he sees fit. McGarry not the first PPG chief executive to feel that way, the company known for their frequent shifts in brand and distribution strategies some of which have been very difficult on their network of independent retailers.

In 1958 a group of independent PPG flat glass retailers addressed the Congressional Committee on Small Business on the topic of the company’s unfair distribution practices. Many long-time paint dealers echo some of those sentiments.

I’m in no position to question Mr. McGarry’s right to make these changes. Nor was that right claimed by the dealers I spoke with. But, a change of this magnitude requires transparency on the part of McGarry, the PPG CEO since September of 2015.

The independent retailers of PPG are entitled to have their questions answered!

In light of their recent announcement, I encourage Mr. McGarry to make himself or a senior member of his executive staff available to answer dealer’s questions. Independent retailers who represent their brand are due at least that much!

He can start here!


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