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Funny You Should Ask!

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

A 24-years-old my daughter Buck Wheat is no longer obligated to listen to her father’s advice on life management; THE kid more than old enough to make her own choices.

A fact which she makes clear to THE old man with more-and-more regularity.


The #OtherDan in the life of an independent paint dealer is Dan Tratencek. Tratensek, the Chief Operating Officer of the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) and the publisher of Paint and Decorating Dealer Magazine.

Since their merger with the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association in September of 2020, the NHPA has expanded their efforts on behalf of independent hardware and lumber dealers to include support for independent paint retailers.

One of the ways which the NHPA supports their independent retailer members is through the advanced training the group offers to dealers and their staffs.

The NHPA’s Academy for Retail Development offers more than 250 training modules covering a range of topics suitable for new hires and more seasoned employees. The group’s in-person Retail Management Certification Program remains the channel’s best training for dealers and their management-level employees.

On Friday I recorded a podcast with #TheOtherDan as a guest on his Taking Care of Business podcast where we spent the episode talking about post-dealer life as a content creator, consultant and e-commerce executive.

As we warmed up the episode, Dan asked me what I missed most about my time behind the counter of a paint store.

Funny he should ask!

The day before recording our episode, on a rare afternoon journey away from Studio 119, I had lunch with one of my oldest friends from my years as a paint.

I hired Joe Saunders in March of 1997 to manage a new store I was opening in April of that year.

The only store I would build from the ground up in my 31-years as a paint dealer was on Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. The street which 90-years earlier had given birth and brand to my family’s 112-year tenure as the Bronx’s premier paint retailer.

Joe was the only manager the store would ever know, his employment stretching from the store’s opening day on April 2, 1997 until it’s last on October 15, 2019 when I closed the book on my career as a paint dealer.

The 22-years we shared behind the counters of Tremont Paint ensure that Joe and I are never short for a story to tell when we get together. Some of the better ones given names, by the repetition of years of retelling.

“Eddie THE Cop”

Eddie the Cop was an NYPD rookie and part-time employee who gain infamy in the annals of Tremont Paint when on an unannounced store visit I caught him having sex with a prostitute.

On my desk.

But despite some notable exceptions, it’s my coworkers and customers who I miss the most from my more than three-decades behind the counters at Tremont Paint. Though I feel fortunate to have brought so many of them with me in my post-dealer life.

Speaking of Old Friends

This week on my podcast I’m joined by another old friend from my years as a paint dealer, Carl Minchew.

After a 44-year career with Benjamin Moore, much of that time working on color innovation for the Montvale paint maker, Carl is now with Color Guild. Lending his expertise to the co-op’s efforts to advance color selection technology.

Carl begins the episode with an informed history of the color systems, color matching and color display tools employed by paint manufactures. With that historical context in place, Carl and I discuss where we believe technology will take the color selection process.

Whether through screens and devices which are able to more accurately display colors, pocket-sized color matching tools or the efforts of Katy Perry, the processes paint consumers use to select color will change in the coming years as consumer behavior continues to push retailers to make their entire stores available online.

A year ago, it would have cost #DanCalkins a lot of money to bring his two ex-employees together to hear what they had to say about the future of color technology.

On Thursday, he can listen to that conversation here for free!

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