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I'm Coming Grasshopper!

Like most independent paint dealers I speak with these days, Augusta Paint and Decorating is setting sales records.

Owner Leslie Merritt sharing that most of the increases Augusta is experiencing are coming from do-it-yourselfers looking for premium products.

Though painters looking for options as Sherwin-Williams continues to struggle with shortages are also finding a new home at Augusta!

A full-line Benjamin Moore dealer, Leslie’s stores still have a bit of room left to stock stains from Cabot’s and Old Masters as well as specialty products from Richard’s

Don’t worry #DanCalkins, they keep them in the back!

The family business which also sells lighting, Leslie and her husband (who I’ll call “Mr. Leslie”) since I forgot to ask his name) were recently joined in the business by the couple’s son Justin.

A two-store dealership which also sells lighting, Leslie and Justin work the counter at the Staunton store while “Mr. Leslie” manages the Waynesboro location 12-miles away.

After some early-morning paint geeking with Leslie and Justin, I continued on to the reason I spent the night in Staunton, Virginia; a visit to the birthplace and presidential library of our nation’s 28th president, Woodrow Wilson.

President during World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic, Wilson’s steady hand during eight difficult years should have left history feeling better about the only president to earn a PhD. But Wilson’s failure to support a woman’s right to vote and his notorious racism have cost him history’s admiration.

Though I do appreciate his taste in cars!

With paint and presidents in the rear view mirror, I pointed the black Beemer which I rented for my “Tour de Dealers” south and west.

It has been over a decade since I traveled outside of the New York metropolitan area for the purposes of consulting with a paint dealer. The advent of Zoom and other technologies, as well as my preference for the manufacturer’s deeper pockets, ending an otherwise enjoyable facet of my career.

But when Zach Maddux of Columbia Paint asked me to make my way to Columbia, Tennessee and share my paint store expertise with him, it was hard to say no.

As both a member of AllPro and one of the three original Minuteman of my Revolution, Zach is as close to family as a dealer can get without being named Lipton.

Though when he asked me to leave my Studio— the corporate headquarters of THE Revolution— and make the nearly 1000-mile trek to Columbia to view his store’s operations, I played hard-to-get.

But when Zach offered the black Beemer, and mentioned that Columbia was home to the country’s 11thpresident, James K. Polk, I grabbed my cape and went to save his day.

Zach knows, that when you need guidance transitioning a paint dealership from one generation to another, while sales are growing at a remarkable rate, that there’s only one person to call.


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