THE Corridor!

Dumping my suitcase to do a load of laundry, I realized I had no more clean underwear! One day longer and I was going to have to make some tough decisions!

The stretch of road I drove today; the last five hours of my 2000-mile journey from San Antonio to Stamford, is my eternal road trip.

Since 1981 when I was a freshman at the University of Maryland, I have left my share of rubber on the road between the DC and the New York metro areas.

THE Corridor!

The road never changes. It’s as familiar to me as the old Yankee Stadium or the house I grew up in on Woodlands Avenue in White Plains.

Today on my way home, along THE corridor, I came within a short drive of nine more dead presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Wilson and Kennedy. I’ve seen them all except for Woodrow Wilson.

I didn’t stop!

I miss my woman and she misses me. It was time to get home.

But I had one more store to visit make! The trip that started in San Antonio at the Allpro show with 300 independent paint retailers needed to end with an independent retailer.

While today was the end of this road trip, it will not be the end of my paint store and presidential journey: paint stores and presidential monument are not such unusual events in my life; it’s just that I never blogged about it before, so it was new to you!

One more store.

There were plenty to choose from! The earth between Northern Virginia (where I stopped last night) and my home in Stamford is the most fertile land there is for independent paint retailers. You can’t throw a gallon of stain-killing primer without hitting an independent paint retailer along that corridor.

And I feel like I know them all! I could have picked from hundreds! But there was only one that made sense.

Tremont Paint.

My father and grandfather bought this store in 1968. That’s my dad Billy, standing in front of it circa 1974. At the time they bought it, it was already a successful paint and decorating store with a good following in the neighborhood: back when neighborhoods mattered in the Bronx. It was painted blue and called “The Blue Store.” For decades they answered the phone “Tremont Paint-Blue Store!” A retail paint and decorating store-The Blue Store, and our commercial paint supply-Tremont Paint; sharing one space and time.

I grew up in this store. When my father and grandfather bought it in 1968, I was five. When you read about my youth in a paint store; of my family always being around, of my parents working together, of my father smelling like paint thinner, of the hand truck races between my father and uncle, it all happened in THIS store.

Hallowed ground.

Over the course of my career, that store changed personalities several times. The paint and decorating store my father ran had to go when I got there. I was on the road selling and we needed the space for more paint, sprayers and a wider selection of professional tools. Tiles became fives of primer, wallpaper books became airless and HVLP equipment. And then back to faux finishing supplies years later, as we shifted back towards more retail and designer driven business!