THE Montvale Massacre!


Buck Wheat has only been home for a few days and already she, Guy and I have new pairs of “Beats” noise-cancelling headphones on order. A cocoon designed to protect you from ANY sounds-including words-the world around you may make!

Despite the tight housing compared to a month ago, I thought things were going well; right up to the moment Buck told me we needed three pairs of the “sounds of silence” headsets!

In-fact, things ARE going well here and I hope you and your families are also getting through the pandemic with as little pain as possible.

But we still need the headphones!

One house, four adults (ALL on their own schedules), three of whom are working from home, taking phone calls, making podcasts AND eating lunch in the kitchen-which is now my office! Peace and quiet is more aspirational than actual in “Casa Lipton!” The effects of the coronavirus outbreak on independent paint retailers are the words that my family is trying to block with their new noise-cancelling headsets. The topic is omnipresent in every phone call; I’m sure that they would say incessant!

Included in the din of conversations that my family is forced to endure, was some good news, some light at the end of the tunnel. Yesterday, I heard of the first dealers in New York City who were able to reopen.

I‘ll admit my Yiddish is a bit rusty, but I know a good time to say Mazel Tov!

Recovering from the economic impact of this pandemic is going to be a long journey for many dealers and that is certainly true for those hardest hit by this event: New Yorkers. But the journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step and you can’t sell paint through a locked door so re-opening is that first step!

I wish them all, my closest paint comrades, good fortune.

There’s another group of people that are going to need good luck if they are going to come out of this mess on the right side of fate: Benjamin Moore.

The network of independent Benjamin Moore dealers, particularly their largest (dollar-volume) segment of dealers-traditional paint & decorating stores-are going to take the brunt of this economic hit and that means so will Benjamin Moore! Unless there are another 5,000 Ace dealers around the United States that I’m not aware of, then “Omaha, We have a problem!”

Benjamin Moore is going to need its paint and decorating dealers to succeed if they plan to survive this event as a significant player in this channel. And that will not happen by providence, they will need a plan.

To date, they have not communicated that plan to dealers.

In-fact, during this crisis Benjamin Moore dealers have received scant communications from Montvale and what communications they have received has been contemptible and of little value. To me that means that either: Benjamin Moore is unaware of the extent of their current problems OR they’re aware and don’t want to talk about it.

The line in Vegas says bet the latter.


Their historical reluctance to discuss difficult issues with their dealers is at least part of the reason for their corporate silence. During the greatest economic crisis in nearly a century, Benjamin Moore has said nothing that helps dealers answer the only question that matters:

“Is Benjamin Moore working on a plan to address the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on their core business: the paint & decorating store?“ andHow will dealers be engaged in that process?“

Dealers are entitled to the answers to those questions. And plenty of other ones too!