THE Combo!

Updated: Jun 15

Despite the myriad possible combinations of a deli sandwich made with two meats, if you walk into a New York kosher style deli and order a “Combo,” you are referring to a sandwich made with roughly equal parts of corned beef and pastrami.

New York‘s version of barbecue’s brisket, and burnt ends!


King of the New York sandwich scene THE Combo only comes one way; overstuffed! The pile of meat sized to ensure that its meat and fat you taste, no matter how you choose to top your sandwich.

The brined, seasoned and smoked beef briskets are kept whole in a bath of warm water until you order your sandwich. The pickled meats sliced thinly, before getting folded and laid between two slices of rye bread.


Ordering a Combo on a bread other than rye would expose you as a tourist, or heretic.


Stepping to the counter of the Bronx’s Court Deli, Buck Wheat proved to be neither. THE kid‘s order showing that it takes more than three-years to forget where you came from.


“Give me a Combo with Russian, Swiss and sauerkraut please.” The sandwich ordered with no mention of the bread, my 24-year-old daughter confident that rye was implied!


The “please,” the only hint of her time in the country’s politer southern region.



Combos in hand we walked the final two-blocks towards Yankee Stadium as the sun set on a Bronx Friday night.

Attending a Friday night Yankee game our yearly commitment to each other, in honor of the 13-year span my daughter and I attended (nearly) all of the Yankees’ 169 Friday night home games.


The Combos and the conversations making the games seem impertinent.



Any Other Questions?


Recently I registered to attend a presentation hosted by Sherwin-Williams for members of the New York business press and financial community. The “roadshow,” giving those who provide news coverage of the paint making giant an opportunity to ask questions of the company’s executives including chief executive officer, John Morikis.


Though it turns out John didn‘t want to answer every question!



And while dropping me from the guest list days before the presentation means that Morikis owes me lunch, it was still interesting to hear his perspectives on the state of the coatings industry. And of the world’s largest paint maker as his company’s yearly production output nears 1,000,000,000 gallons.


Absent from the CEO’s comments was any mention of the independent channel or the company’s inconsequential Pratt & Lambert brand which S-W manufactures for their remaining independent dealer customers.


What Morikis did share with the attending press and online guests was his view that despite his concerns for the supply chain, raw material availability and inflation he expects demand for gallons of liquid coatings to grow “in the low to mid-teens” for the remainder of this year.


That surging demand for coatings also pushing the independent paint dealer channel to record sales. Despite the failures of the world’s largest paint maker to create a meaningful program for independent dealers.


Martin’s Paint


In pre-big box New York, Martin’s Home Decorating Center was the dominant paint retailer to the DIY consumer. In addition to their own brand of paints, Martin’s stores sold lighting, furniture, rugs and other low-priced home décor items. The company’s jingle on their now grainy television commercials bragging “it ain’t just paint!”


And while Martin’s discount-style of décor lost New York’s favor in the early 1990s, their strategy of adding dollars to the sales of consumers already shopping for paint in their 50+ New York area stores makes sense in moderation, for paint dealers today.


Which is why on my podcast this week I’m joined by Tom Perry of Rich Power, an independently owned manufacturer of work lights.


When I first became a paint dealer in 1988 there was little demand from professional painters for work lights. The selection of work lights available to painters in my stores was limited to a 60-watt light bulb at the end of a 100-feet extension cord and, a halogen lamp which would be considered unsafe by modern standards.


But LED technology has made work lights an indispensable tool for the modern finish contractor with painters and drywallers comprising 40% of the nation’s work light market.


Join me Thursday as I ask Tom to share how dealers can tap into the fast-growing segment of the market.