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OK, I'll Tell Them!

Updated: Mar 14

While discussing his company’s review of their architectural coatings strategies on a recent webcast, PPG chief executive Tim Knavish (pronounce Kuh-nay-vish) bragged that his company is now “the majority paint supplier to Walmart.” 


News which came as a surprise to me, though Knavish has known since April when his company announced a multi-year agreement to become the “primary paint brand at Walmart.”


And the official wine spritzer of the WWE!    


Key to the deal is Glidden’s GRAB-N-GO paint, a line which wouldn't fit in a store smaller than a Walmart!


GRAB-N-Go comes in both interior and exterior finishes with each available in a palette of 25 uninspiring ready-mixed colors which come in three finishes each: flat, eggshell and semi-gloss for the interiors with flat, satin and gloss for outdoors.


Each permutation is available in gallons and quarts for a staggering total of more than 300 sku’s!


Paint dealers know that it’s likely a third of those sku’s average less than two-turns per year and that 50 of them turn even less than that; explaining why most manufacturers and retailers have moved away from ready-made colors over the last 30-years discovering enormous efficiencies and profits in the process.

Now, who wants to tell Walmart? 

Within crises lay opportunities for those willing to act swiftly and the events surrounding Kelly-Moore’s “orderly wind down” offered no exceptions.  So, while employees, vendors and landlords continue to suffer the impacts of Charles Gassenheimer’s lies, opportunistic paint retailers are capitalizing on the ruination of the once tenacious competitor.  

Headquartered in Commerce, California, paint maker Dunn Edwards has made the biggest splash to-date opening 15 new stores in the last 60-days with each location staffed by Kelly-Moore alumni, likely ensuring a high conversion rate.  

Owned by the Japanese titan Nippon Paints, Dunn Edwards had access to resources to fund their efforts, which you need if you’re going to be opportunistic. 


Because people staff paint stores, but dollars open them!


But with no plan in place–or at-best a hastily prepared one–Dunn Edwards executives negotiated 15 leases, disposed of 15 stores worth of abandoned property, interviewed and hired an estimated 40 employees and trained them on Dunn Edwards’ processes, filled each store with paint and likely contacting every customer.


THE more than impressive response allowed Dunn Edwards to have its pick of former Kelly-Moore markets!


Also making hay while the sun is shining is Memphis-based manufacturer Farrell-Calhoun who opened three new stores in Austin, Texas.  Each of them are former Kelly-Moore locations-staffed by Kelly-Moore alum.


Owners of 50 company stores across the South, Farrell-Calhoun also has a network of more than 100 independent retailers dotted across the country’s center.


In the days after the Kelly-Moore shuttering, it was an executive at Farrell-Calhoun who was the first to mention any plans to take over Kelly-Moore stores. 

At least the first to mention it to me!

That alacrity allowed Farrell-Calhoun to grab one of Kelly’s best markets with relative ease, despite the stores being hundreds of miles from the company’s headquarters.


Also taking advantage of THE opportunity were independent retailers, some of whom have opened new locations and hired key people Kelly-Moore since the shutdown, though none of them would allow me to share the details of their stories.


But I know who I can ask!  







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