The War For Independents!

Updated: May 19


It’s become an inside joke in my house that I am starting a revolution. I’m not sure about starting one, but I do plan on participating in the one that is going on all over the United States as you read this.

A second American Revolution; grab your musket!

Since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s been clear that one of, if not THE, hardest hit segment of the economy was going to be independent and locally-owned retail businesses.

Main Street!

So concerned was Uncle Sam about the effects of the outbreak on this segment of the economy that when everyone’s favorite uncle started printing money to save the economy from certain doom, he included hundreds of billions of dollars of cheap loans and grants to address grave concerns for how long the segment could even survive without government action.

Uncle Sam was right to be so concerned!

At the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, there were over 2,000,000 Americans employed in locally owned retail sales positions.

But locally owned businesses provide more to local economies than just employment, as if that wasn’t enough! Money spent in locally owned stores drives the economy in other ways which big retail will never be able to match.

The multiplier effect.

The multiplier effect of money is a term economists use to describe the proportional increase in value of dollars spent. Simply put: When you spend a dollar it doesn’t die; some of it gets spent by the person you gave it to! The calculation of the value of that dollar as it bounces through the economy from person-to-person is the multiplier effect and every dollar does it!

But they don’t all do it equally.

Money spent shopping in a national retail chain multiplies after you spend it. In-fact, every $100 you spend in a big box store is worth $114 to the local economy.

And that’s cute!

Especially when compared to the bawdy success in that regard of independent retailers. When you walk into your local paint, hardware or any other type of locally owned retail store and drop a Benjamin, it’s worth $145 to the local economy. TRIPLE the multiplier effect of a big box. Because we keep our money local.

The American economy needs independent retailers!

So to all the independent retailers who invest in my community, I am committing to investing in you! By giving you the first shot at ANY consumer dollars I spend.

Since the start of the outbreak I have found independently and locally owned vendors for most of our food and other home needs. Trips to the supermarket have been replaced by trips to the butcher and produce store. Trips to Target have been replaced by trips to the local hardware store. As a family we are finding that we have few needs that cannot be met while shopping at locally-owned independent businesses.

What Are You Doing?


As paint and hardware retailers you are also consumers: you bought all the products in your store! You buy paint, brushes, sprayers, sundries and as business owners you have ultimate say in how that money gets spent. Of course some of it must get spent supporting the national brands who’s name you put on the door, but what about the rest?

You can shop independent too!

I released a new episode of the “Mark, My Words” podcast with this blog. You can listen here: Podcast.

My guest this week was Brian Carter. Brian is the president of Armstrong Clark, an independent coatings manufacturer who specializes in old-fashion oil-based exterior stains which are VOC compliant in all 50 states. Brian shares the interesting history of this family owned business and of course we discuss where they are now and where they’re going!

Independent like you, Armstrong Clark offers retailers the opportunity keep their money “in the channel,” rather than exporting it to Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Omaha after it stops in Montvale.

Armstrong Clark dealers are making great margins. They’re getting fast deliveries and they get to deal with a smaller organization. Imagine that! A decision maker on the other end of the phone!

And they are actively engaged on social media platforms to drive sales to your stores! You may have heard me mention the need for that a time of two?

Like the multiplier we spoke about above, money you spend with independent manufacturers will multiply in our channel and make all of us ALL stronger. For example, at the very end of my conversation with Brian (about minute 33 on the pod) he shares specifically how they take the interest their product in generating on social media and turn it into a sale at an independent retailer. They are investing in the channel!


Give it a listen on any of the links here: MarkLiptonPaint.com/podcasts, Soundcloud, Blubrry, Apple and Sticher or if you’ve subscribed, it’s already on your device.

I’ll be looking for more independent manufacturers and vendors to share with you in the coming months. If you know of one that’s doing a great job for retailers and you’d like to share, shoot me a text: 914-584-5889. I’ll call them and see if they want to get on a mic with me.

Being independent does not mean standing on your own!




The Fine Print: This is not an endorsement of this brand. I have no association with Armstrong Clark nor any of their employees.

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© Mark Lipton 2020