Updated: Jul 30
I had my first night back in the smoker’s lounge (aka, my patio) since my return from Florida. Much more comfortable than my mother's patio in Florida; the state that sweats!
A stray cat came through the yard as I was sitting there tonight and I thought “watch out birdies!” There are no gators around here for the cats to worry about!
It’s good to be home!
And back in charge of my own life! It was great to see my mother and help her get set up and back to living her (new) life, after my father’s passing. The time I spent with her will be like so many other days I’ve shared with my mother: a gift of memory!
But it was time to go! I’ve got a lot to do.
A few of you have asked me recently why I’ve been so cheap with the podcasts? I’m not one for making excuses (though sounds like I’m about to make one) but with all the travel and work I’ve been doing on my e-commerce project, I have not had the time. But I’ve made four already since I've been home and you should start hearing them again once I can get the editor to clean them up a bit! Stay tuned!
Janovic Paint is one of the premier independent retailers in the United States. Their stores in Manhattan, Long Island City in Queens and the Bronx (my two former-stores) have ruled over New York’s paint scene for more than a century! They claim to have been selling paint in New York City since 1888. While I can’t confirm THAT, I can tell you that my grandfather Jack knew Emil Janovic very well in the 1930’s! In New York as in our channel, Janovic is an institution!
They are going to write books about what the Covid outbreak did to New York City; and when they do, Janovic should be a chapter! Janovic CEO, my 25+ year acquaintance Rich Guadino, was suddenly faced with challenges beyond the scope of any previous contemplation.
When New York City ordered all non-essential businesses to close, Janovic went from growth-mode (6-months earlier they had purchased my two Bronx stores), to closed. In the flick of the mayor’s pen! Rich and his staff went to work on putting out the fires Covid had set for them but from the beginning of the crisis it was clear: surviving this would not be about how you close your stores.
It would be about how you reopen them!
Rich determined that Janovic needed an e-commerce solution and he needed it in a New York nano-second! New York and Janovic were burning and Rich was manning the only firehose! The days needed to manage an e-commerce project were not going to be found on his calendar.
At the time that I offered to help, all I knew about e-commerce was that there were suddenly a lot more Amazon trucks in Stamford!
As the effort became a crusade, the desire to help independent retailers at-times feels as though it's a crusade to me, it occurred to me that the work I was doing for Janovic could be the foundation for an e-commerce platform for ANY independent paint retailer.
And Lexington was born.
Yesterday at Janovic.com, we launched our first e-commerce site using Lexington, the e-commerce solution for independent paint retailers. Within a few hours we had had made our first sale. Go check the site out at Janovic.com or better yet; email or text me and I’ll give you a tour!
What you see at Janovic.com is just the beginning. Our opening shots in the War for Independents! Our first upgrades are scheduled to drop next week! But this slick site is already selling paint. While we plan our upgrades, we are also putting the finishing touches on our marketing plan to drive traffic to the site and his brick and mortar locations.
After DAY ONE I can already do an ROI calculation, it only takes one sale! That’s my kind of business model: two months to revenue on a nominal investment! Assuming he never does more business than he did on DAY ONE, this system pays for itself in six-months.
That’s if you just count the money it brings in!
But these systems will do much more for a dealer than bring in money! In the coming months Janovic will start to see data about customers which is outside of the realm of anything you can conceive of if you don’t have e-commerce or have an entry level e-commerce platform. For Rich, or any other dealer who makes the investment, the data will pour in! For the first time, dealers can have a deep understanding of their businesses in a way that will confound your POS provider! It’s my view that in the near future, this data will drive all his decisions even on brick and mortar: where to put a store, how big should it be, what stores can be closed, what product mix to stock where and more!
Data from both websites and e-commerce platforms will drive most dealer decisions once they make the investment. Imagine changing store counts, up or down, with data on where exactly your customers live? These data driven decisions will lead to better outcomes for Janovic!
Rich and his needs came first, but now that he’s up and running; YOU come next!
In the coming weeks I will put the finishing touches on Lexington and start to show it to dealers. Our web site will be up shortly and I will start offering dealers the opportunity to view our work and to see up-close how an e-commerce platform can transform your business.
When you see what this does for Janovic, you’ll understand what it can do for you.
Shots fired! The War for Independents has begun!