Overwhelmingly, I prefer the term dealer to retailer, using “retailer” only when the grammar requires me to.
That bucks a recent trend from many in the industry to reclassify independent “paintsellers” from dealers to the more modern term, retailers.
Which I admit, encapsulates the role more fully.
But to me, we are still dealers and I can explain my strange love for the word.
When my great-grandparents Isaac and Esther Lipton started Tremont Paint in the Bronx, in 1907 they were dealers. Part of a collection of people selected by the paint companies to represent their brands, to “deal” in those products. Benjamin Moore, Dutch Boy (made by a company called National Lead, before lead became a four-letter word) and countless local grinders all called their authorized locations: dealers.
After my great-grandparents, my grandfather Jack was a paint dealer and so was my father Billy, who retired before the term retailer would begin to push its way into the lexicon. The Lipton men who came before me were all paint dealers!
Who am I to change that?
Speaking of family, the family of independent paint dealers I surround myself with has just gotten three dealers bigger!
Meet the first soldiers in the War for Independents! The original Minutemen!
Andriot’s Paint and flooring in Shelbyville, KY is owned by Minuteman number one, BJ Andriot.
Andriot’s Paint and Flooring is a single-store paint, flooring and window treatments dealer who also sells THE Big Green Egg, just for fun. For paint, Andriot’s stocks Benjamin Moore, California, Insl-X and Richard’s. Founded in 1946 by BJ’s grandfather, BJ took over the helm of Andriot’s from his father Bob in 2005. BJ is a member of the AllPro buying group; The member-owned cooperative of paint dealers which played a crucial role in my success as a dealer.
Minuteman number two is Zach Maddux. Zach Zooms with me from in front of the two guitars which he’s got displayed in his home-office. His slow southern drawl makes me think he’s going to grab one and start singing romantic paint songs to me, but I have not been that lucky yet.
Zach and his father Zeke own Columbia Paint & Wallcovering in Columbia, TN! Columbia Paint and Wallcovering is a single-store paint, wallcoverings and window treatments dealer selling Benjamin Moore, Richard’s and their own private label for paint while also dealing with Graber, Dash & Alpert and the major wallpaper manufacturers. Zach and his father are also members of AllPro.
While just coincidental to have two AllPro members in the first group, I love the connection!
On May 27, 1776 at a meeting of the “legal inhabitants” of Malden, Massachusetts it was decided, unanimously, to flip King George III THE bird!
Through their chosen representative, word was sent to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia: “….we bid a final adieu to Britain!” Many believe that Malden is the true birthplace of American independence!
It was Massachusetts, and likely Malden which birthed the original Minutemen!
And so I find it fitting that this group of dealers which I have named THE Minutemen, would include a dealer from Malden, Massachusetts!
Todd Zigelbaum’s store, Town Line Paint in Malden, Massachusetts, is also multi-generational: started by Todd’s grandmother Esther as a wallpaper boutique in 1965! Todd and his brother Gary added paint in 1983 and now Town Line sells them all: Benjamin Moore, PPG, C2, Cabot’s, Fine Paints of Europe, ReColor for recycled paints plus wallpaper and window treatments.
As a Yankee fan I admit: Todd’s Boston accent takes me back to 2004, when the Red Sox broke the curse! But since I can’t go see the Yankees this year anyway, what’s the harm?
these dealers have more in common than a desire to be free of conventional boundries! They’re all: single-store, multi-generational and have a heavy bias towards decorating products and services.
And, they want to grow!
Over the coming weeks, I am going to build them each my tool specifically designed to help dealers do that; THE Revolution web site and e-commerce!
I am grateful to Zach, BJ and Todd for picking up their muskets and joining the War for Independents. I appreciate and respect their desire to grow their businesses and I appreciate their trust in me that I was the right person for the job.
I plan on delivering!