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Updated: Jan 11, 2022

In 1936 my grandfather Jack Lipton would have been working 72-hours a week behind the counter at Tremont Paint.

The second of four-generations of Lipton’s to sling paint in the Bronx Jack taught my father Billy the blue of heard work.

Making it my father's fault that I never lived up to my grandfather's standard.

The paint on the shelves of Jack’s Tremont Paint bore little resemblance to the ready-made products if today’s paint stores. Most interior wall coatings at the time we’re closer to a science experiment than made from the science of coatings. A hand-blended concoction of lead, paint thinner, pigments and drying agents mixed by professional painters.

The customer often standing over the painter’s shoulder as the artisan-painter added the pigment.

“Can you make it a bit greener?”

But by 1936, coatings science was starting to change.

Benjamin Moore was amongst the first paint companies to manufacturer and market ready-made paints. In 1892 THE company introduced Muresco, a ready-made interior wall paint. At that time, a significant achievement in coatings chemistry.

The company retains the name Muresco on a premium ceiling paint in their current product line, paying homage to the accomplishment.

By 1936 Moore’s “Sani-Flat” gave painters a premium quality ready-made alternative which came out of the can ready to paint on most all interior surfaces.

No more mixing the lead, paint thinner, pigments and dryers, saving painters valuable time on the job.

For the convenience of having the product ready-made, painters paid $1.70 per gallon ($33.46 adjusted for inflation)

My grandfather’s 1936 price book, found behind the paneling during an office renovation, the first paint memorabilia I would save which reflected on my family's paint journey.

The pages of the price book written in Jack’s hand, my prize possession.


Last week I visited Columbia Paint, an independent paint dealer in Columbia, Tennessee, owned by Zach Maddux. THE Grasshopper! Amongst other things, we spoke spent much of our time together speaking about rotating stock.

The Crayola, a mistake I made myself!

My favorite cans from the darkest corners of Columbia Paint, a museum piece to a paint collector, was in the trunk of the Beemer before the busy store-owner noticed his inventory was off!

The manufacturing locations listed on the back of this can suggest it was manufactured between 1930-1940, though I didn't find the product in Jack's price book. And Grasshopper had lost the purchase order!

In THE News

I appreciate how many of you are watching and listening to my new podcast, “In THE News.” To prepare the 15-minute episodes filled with news for independent paint dealers, I follow more than 20 topics related to our market segment on Google Alerts. Plus countless websites and financial analysts who offer coverage of the broader paint industry.

Everyday at four p.m., Google Alerts sends me up to 20 emails representing any the new content associated with each of my 20-preselected search words and phrases.

The simple system free for Google customers is a great way to keep up with my former boss #DanCalkins.

Over the last two-weeks it has been widely reported amongst that both Sherwin-Williams and PPG have adjusted their earnings forecasts for the remainder of 2021, each company preparing followers for lower than expected earnings.

In the case of Sherwin-Williams it was the second time the company lowered its forecasts in the previous three-weeks.

The adjustments reflecting sales expected to be lost, due to continued shortages of raw material.

PPG lowered their third-quarter sales forecast by as much at $275,000,000. The company sharing that they will no longer be offering any sales or earnings guidance for the remainder of the year.

Sherwin-Williams lowered their earnings projections from $9.45 per share to just $8.35, a decrease of over 11%.

Dealer's Registers Ringing

I don't follow warnings news because I care how much money Sherwin-Williams and PPG make or lose in any given quarter or year. CEO's John Morikus and Michael McGarry each make $15,000,000 per year solve their company's problems, let them go earn their pay!

But new of continued shortages at the paint giants mean that dealers struggling to get product from those companies will likely continue to struggle, as products for dealer shelves will continue to receive lower manufacturing priority than products made for the company's own stores.

Leaving many Pratt & Lambert and PPG dealers in a bind.

The news also means that Benjamin Moore dealers, who generally speaking are getting the paint they need, can expect as many as six more months of sales advantage against the empty shelves of the local Sherwin and PPG stores.

Now that #DansDreamsCameTrue, the Benjamin Moore CEO is going to need a plan if he wants to hang on to all that new volume after the shortages abate.

Which, they will.

Luckily for #MyFormerBoss, there is one!

But he’ll have to read my blog next week if he wants to see it.


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