When I sold my two New York City-based paint stores Tremont Paint in October of 2019, the timing had me looking prescient.
Mere months after the ink was dry on my contracts selling my family’s 112-year-old paint stores, New York became Ground Zero for the second time in as many decades. A global pandemic which assaulted my birth city caused two-months of lock downs.
Those with whom I shared the story of my exit from the retail side of the channel often commented on my knack for timing; getting out before the pandemic ruined independent retailing in the United States.
But like Pharaoh’s plague and the Jews, the economic devastation of the Covid pandemic seems to have passed over paint dealers!
Timing is Everything
As I was pushing my last gallons over the counter in a paint store, Chris Martin and his wife Tina were pushing their first!
Putting down the brush after 20-years as a painter, the pair opened Color Maxx in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in August of 2018. Who could blame them for feeling snakebitten when the pandemic hit during their first full-year of operations?
But as we have learned together over the previous 18-months, pandemics make for a great time to be an independent paint dealer!
A single-line Benjamin Moore store, Chris and Tina had the shelves on the sales floor full with premium and super premium products, ith plenty of commercial products in the back!
Like many of the Benjamin Moore dealers I speak with, Chris shared that recent shortages at Sherwin-Williams have given Color Maxx the opportunity to steal business away from the Cleveland based paint giant. With many of those customers interested in professional products Color Maxx stocks Ultra-Spec to make the sale. But Chris and Tina are also explaining to value of premium paints to their new customers; offering Regal and Aura as substitutes for painters more used to Pro-Mar.