A year ago this week, Guy and I stood on the western edge of the Eurasian landmass and from the cliffs of Cabo da Roca, Portugal, watched the sun set over earth’s largest continent.
One year and one pandemic later, this weekend's highlights were far less entrancing!
With weather provided by Indian summer or global warming depending on your politics, we took the roof off the Jeep and drove "the long way" avoiding all highways, from Stamford to New Haven, CT.
To Wooster Street. THE home of New Haven Style thin crust pizza!
Sally's Apizza and Frank Pepe's Napoletana
Frank Pepe's, just steps down Wooster Street, was rated # 1!
Since the 1930's, these two coal-fired stalwarts have been laying claim as the regions top pizza. They may both be right!
Still undecided which pizza would best scratch her itch and looking to the heavens for guidance, Guy noticed a broad flock of birds circling the sky over New Haven's Little Italy.
I wondered if it says anything about Guy that in the abundance of birds, she saw nature's wonder?
"There's so many!" she said, with the enthusiasm of a youngster who just found where his mother hid the cookies.
I was impressed myself! With how quickly I thought, “We need to close the roof!”
But thinking it and acting on that impulse are two different things and I immediately felt the remorse of delay.
"That was close!" I thought as the first shot splattered on the vinyl roof folded open inches from my head. My luck would soon run out.
Fascinated by their numbers, Guy maintained her gaze at the swarm. Not wanting to tempt the gods of gravity and terminal velocity, I leveled my head. A shot to the brim of my white 2016 US Open cap proved me wise.
By the time the attack ended, the graduates of the sparrow's school of marksmanship showed my jeans (twice!), my arm, cap, shoulder, visor, steering wheel and fiancee who ruled the skies over New Haven.
Guy was cleaning herself off before I could even grab my camera, so you'll have to take my word for all of this. But if your kids come home from school and tell you that they learned that birds eat berries, Guy and I can confirm that for you!
A "berry" bad day to be driving a topless car on Wooster Street!
Speaking of Wooster
In my blog on October 22, I named a few manufacturers in our space whom I applauded for their preparedness for THE digital Revolution.
At the time, I was referring to companies which have the digital assets needed to support and help market their products on dealer's sites. That is one way which manufacturers can support dealers in a digital revolution. Having those assets well organized and delivering them in ways which allow dealers to easily access them, is another!
Another way is funding!
To support their dealer's embracing this new opportunity, Benjamin Moore will allow dealers to get reimbursed for up to 75% of the cost of a new web and e-commerce site, to the extent the dealer has coop funds available. C2 Paint has a program which may allow their dealers to get reimbursed 100% of the costs of the C2 portion of a site. Other manufacturers have cooperative advertising programs which may also allow for reimbursement, though Benjamin Moore and C2 are currently the two most generous programs.
But with almost 40% on average of an independent paint retailer's revenue coming from sales of "non-paint" items such as sundries, window treatments and wallpaper, why should just the paint manufacturers be asked to participate?
Not knowing what kind of response they would get, I advised THE Minutemen to reach out to their non-paint vendors and seek funding to help offset non-paint portions of the sites.
Mostly, we heard "no."
But to their credit, Wooster: THE brush and roller manufacturer from the eponymous town in Ohio, became the first manufacturer to step up and offer financial support for a dealer installing THE Revolution web and e-commerce sites.
Other manufacturers will develop programs to help dealers fund these uber-growth opportunities, but we generally only celebrate the "firsts." I applaud Wooster and their president Ben Maibach (pronounced Maybaw) for putting their money where their mouth is and supporting their dealers as they step into the digital age.
This week I expect to turn over to its owners the first web site and e-commerce platform of THE Revolution: Town Line Paint of Malden, MA . While still several weeks away from having all its components installed, the sites have reached a point where they are considered "mvp," or a minimally viable product.
Minimally viable of course is NOT the goal! But it does mean that Town Line can make money selling paint and sundries online while they get used to using their new system and I finish adding window treatments, flooring, decor, wallpaper and other features we have planned.
I'll be back on Thursday to let you know how that launch went.
Until then, if you find yourself on Wooster Street in New Haven, don't look up! And go to Sally's!
Because thedailymeal.com was wrong!