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That's What She Said!

Updated: Jul 10, 2022

My current hometown of Stamford, Connecticut sits on the edge of THE Long Island Sound.

THE City the Works sharing a coastline with more than 1,200 species of invertebrates, nearly 200 species of birds and more than 9 million other people who call the watershed of the Long Island Sound home.

An estuary which blends fresh and salt waters, THE Sound's eastern boundaries are opened to the Atlantic Ocean. The fresh water is provided by the rivers of Connecticut, Western Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and most of southern New York, which all drain into the Sound.

The modern history of the Sound is one of pollution; the 200-year long industrialization and populating of the New York metropolitan area wreaking havoc on the Sound’s delicate eco-system.

As recently as the 1990’s, it would have been unsafe to eat fish caught in the Long Island Sound.

The waters of the Long Island Sound so polluted it inspired musician Billy Joel to write a song chronicling the effects of the death of the Sound’s on the lives of the fisherman of his birthplace, Oyster Bay. THE Piano Man's 1989 hit Downeaster Alexa is a parable, expressing the anxiety of the Joel’s fisherman on the Sound's southern shores.

But despite the appeal of the Sound’s calm waters, Long Island acts as a 110-mile sandbar protecting its sound from the Atlantic’s rage, pollution evicted Joel’s fishermen from the Sound’s protection. The search for sellable fish necessitating they push further into the Atlantic.

Joel’s hit a mariner’s tale of giants “in the canyons" of the Atlantic’s depths. Joel’s song a rock-and-roll fisherman prayer, "I know there's fish out there but where God only knows?"

They Were Independents

It was the locally-owned and often multi-generational fishing families of Joel's Downeaster Alexa who first alerted authorities to the Sound’s problems when they began reporting flotillas of diseased, or dead fish.

In 1990, after a study revealed that it was nitrogen from New York and Connecticut’s wastewater treatment plants which was choking out the life of the Sound's eco-system, the two states to significantly curtail the practice.

In the 32-years since that agreement was reached the 600-miles of the Sound’s shoreline and 1300 square-miles of water has returned to life. The Sound’s waters again safe to fish, sail and swim in.

The air restored to its natural seaside condition; that unique smell of coastline so many of us find so restorative.

That compelling aroma making it hard to sit here, "pen" in hand, and write of anything else.

On my podcast this week I’m joined by Kim Peffley. Kim is the Director of Organizational Development and Consulting for the North American Hardware and Paint Association, NHPA.

Kim’s offers organizational consulting to (mostly larger) dealers looking to gain operational efficiencies within their organizations. Kim does an outstanding job explaining how dealers can use her group's services to excel in areas such as employee development and implementing in-store best practices.

Kim’s journey with the independent channel began at her family’s kitchen table, where her parents first rolled out the blueprints for a True Value hardware store they had contracted to build.

In 12-years behind the counter Kim progressed from cashier to manager, the position she held when her parents retired, and sold the store to a local chain of Ace stores.

Staying on with the new owners for an additional 13-years before joining the NHPA, Kim managed stores ranging from 7,500 to 75,000 square-feet, before becoming the chain’s general manager with responsibilities for all seven of their locations.

As we wrapped up our recording I asked Kim to share any final thoughts she may have about her time in THE, independent channel.

She shared how grateful she was for the opportunities the channel had given to her.

And for the opportunity to return the favor!

Her comments reminding me of a text exchange I had with a dealer recently. This dealer wondering why I make the efforts I do on behalf of independent retailers?

What she said!

Look for my episode with Kim on Thursday.


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