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Hey! Where You From?

While paint history drips all over the Lipton side of the family, paint is only half the story!

Actually, only a quarter.

Another quarter of me comes from the village of Alt Schlage in present day Poland. The village home to the family of my maternal grandmother Kitty.

"I think we're Polish" she would answer when questioned about our heritage, though she was never really sure!

In an era less constrained by political correctness in humor, I used to tell Kitty that if she didn't know if she was Polish or not then she probably was!

The joke a riff on an ethnic joke common at the time.

But it turns out Kitty was right to have doubts.

When Kitty was born in the early 1900’s Alt Schlage was likely a German city. Though Russian and Prussian are also possibilities.

My grandmother explaining that European borders were known for their shifting nature during that era. The patterns of frequent wars, and cross-border incursions by neighboring despots made it difficult to know which nation Alt Schlage belonged to at the time she was born.

I’ll have more on that below.

Between recording three podcasts and editing two others I found time this week to speak with a number of PPG dealers. The dealers still fuming over the company’s announcement that their top-selling Speed-Hide brand would be made available at Home Depot and that PPG would be handling order fulfillment for the retail giant!

The PPG dealers I speak with continue to express their view that it was independent PPG dealers who “built” the nationwide demand for Speed Hide among professional painters and that making those products available at Home Depot will cut significantly into their sales and profits.

One dealer telling me that after years of dealing with the country’s second largest paint maker they’ve had enough of what they considered to be the manufacturer's unfriendly attitude towards independent dealers.

This dealer dropping PPG in favor of another paint brand.

And while this was the first PPG dealer to share with me that they went so far as to drop the line, the word among the PPG dealers I speak with is that they are looking for opportunities to move business away from the brand with whom trust has often been an issue.

Dealers who are branded with PPG find themselves in a difficult spot; the cost of changing a brand, the location of other nationally branded stores or the need to access particular products all make fully swapping out a paint brand a complicated decision.

But for PPG dealers with less investment in the brand the company's recent actions make it easy to justify the time spent finding alternative sources of supply.

Conversations I have had with representatives from other paint manufacturers confirm that PPG dealers seem to be “in play!” Some telling me they are already writing business with unhappy dealers of the paint brand.

The unsurprising outcome, the effects of PPG’s history of oft-changing distribution practices.

(Scroll past the picture if you would like to read a short personal note on the war in Ukraine)

Personal note:

I have such deep sadness tonight for the people of Ukraine. My blood is nearly 100% Ashkenazi Jew with 25% of those genetics coming from my maternal grandfather Harry Gersh.

Harry and his family were from a region now part of Ukraine, though they may have been Russian at that time.

Growing up I heard the accents of that region from my grandfather and his siblings who escaped during a different horrible time for the Ukrainian people.

Humor being a trait of the breed, it comes as no surprise that Ukrainians would elect comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy as their president. And no surprise that Mr. Zeleskyy's response would show the remarkable spirit of these beautiful of people who deserve our prayers for peace.


(My grandfather Harry Gersh)


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