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Guy Made the String Beans

It’s said that the “way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

My fiancée Gaetana is a believer in that proverb’s accuracy so since her first-born son Michael moved in with us last month, Guy has been making supreme efforts to ensure that “Gorgie” gets a nice dinner prepared for him every night.

Last night she told me to make baby back ribs. And not to forget THE mac ‘n cheese!

And so now, Gorgie loves ME!

Guy made the string beans.

My great-grandparents, the last Lipton’s to keep a kosher home, would not have approved!

It's not a stretch to propound that my great-grandmother Ester, “Ettle” to the family, was the first female independent paint retailer. Thirteen-years before the 19th Amendment granted Ettle, by then an American citizen, the right to vote in 1920, Ettle was an old-pro at running the day-to-day operations of Tremont Paint. While my great-grandfather Isaac pulled his rickshaw through the streets of the Bronx.

Delivering all that Ettle could sell.

Infrequent was the woman who followed Ettle into the paint business, and it’s not hard to decern why.

In Ettle’s time, small business ownership in the United States was a man’s game. I can still recall my grandfather sharing stories of his mother, when negotiating with vendors and customers would she say, "Let me check with Mr. Lipton" before consummating any deal.

It would have been inappropriate in that era for a woman to engage in commerce.

Also, Isaac's rickshaw had no charging port for his cell phone making him hard to reach while out on his routes around THE Bronx.

Ettle would sit alone in the office long enough to keep up the ruse.

Through the 20th century, small business ownership in the United States remained (primarily) a man's world. It was 1988 when Congress passed HR 5050: The Women's Business Ownership Act. That law making capital available to female entrepreneurs for the first time by ending the discriminatory practice which requiring a husband’s signature to co-sign on any business loan.

While concrete data concerning the percentage of paint dealers today who are female proved impossible to gather, a walk down the aisles of any AllPro or National Hardware Show tells the story of an industry changing. The percentage of women-owned paint retailers has grown significantly over the previous two-decades.

Of the first seven dealers who joined my e-commerce Revolution, three have been women-owned!

On my pod and vlog cast this week I’m joined by two “lady-dealers,” Ash Ebbo of Clement’s Paint in Austin, Texas and Pamela Sholtes of HPP Industrial in Louisville, Kentucky. We share a great conversation about the state of the industry and their stores during this challenging time. Of course, they shared their story of being among the growing number of women in the channel.

You can listen to Ash and Pam tell their story in all the usual places: Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts or my own site. If you have not watched an episode please do! Join the (small but growing) army who are watching on my site or on my YouTube channel.

Guy says that if you watch a few episodes, you'll see how infrequently I change my clothes.

While I'm making dinner, she's doing laundry! So why is she complaining?

On my desk as I type this for you, is my great-grandmother Ettle’s watch. At over 100-years old, it’s only right twice a day. But the watch is not here to tell time.

It’s here, to mark it!


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