My Lights Went Out, Call The Plumber!

As you may imagine, I get into a lot of conversations about independent paint retailers.

Having just returned from the AllPro show, I’m on independent dealer overload!

It’s interesting to me though, that we are all lumped together as we are into one category: independent paint dealer. That description, which makes us seem like one large homogenous group fails to grasp the amount of diversity among us.

In-fact, we are far from one homogenous group.

At these shows I have a tendency to walk around and introduce myself to lots of dealers. Occupational hazard I guess, but also a necessity. With my blog, podcasts and consulting, I position myself as an “industry expert”. I feel like I need to actually try and be one and these shows are a great place to get my practice in!

What struck me this show is how very diverse the universe of independent paint retailers really is. Over the four days I spent at the AllPro show, I met dealers of many sizes and shapes. I met dealers who had a single store and dealers who had over 50! I met dealers with 4 stores doing $3,000,000 in sales and dealers with one store doing $10,000,000!

Clearly, those dealers are not all having the same experiences.

This show, I spent a lot of time with a single store dealer from the South. He was mostly a decorating store who sells more wallpaper, blinds and the like than paint! While paint is clearly an important part of his business, his decorating business is what drives his bus.

I also had dinner one night with the owner of a 50+ store chain. Speaking about his business, he had a very different perspective than my single-store paint and decorating friend.

Imagine going into a clothing store needing a shirt. You find someone to help you, you select the shirt you like and ask for your size. “I’m sorry”, says the store clerk. “That only comes in medium!”

At 6 feet 2 inches and 215 pounds, that’s not good news for me!

It’s not good news for the rest of us either. Programs designed to aid a 20-store chain in adding to their store count, will do little to help me grow my pot-and-brush painter business in my two stores.