If you’re an independent retailer of paint or hardware, you may not know the name Ben Maibach, but you know the brushes and rollers he makes!
Ben is the incoming president of Wooster Brush, the 169-year-old brush and roller manufacturer from Wooster, OH and after 169 years they remain a significant player in the independent paint and hardware retailer channel.
A great many independent paint and hardware stores have products from Wooster on their shelves. They buy them either directly from Wooster, through the buying groups or through one of the many distributors that stock and distribute products for the company who is without a doubt one of the oldest in our segment.
The Wooster brand is so ubiquitous in the paint world that I recently saw a "Tik Tok" staring a Sherlock roller frame! You can take a look here!
In their 169 years of operations, Wooster has seen and survived two World and one Civil War, the Long and the Great Depression's (author’s note: the Long Depression lasted from 1873-1896 and it was referred to as The Great Depression until we learned in 1929 that depressions could get even bigger....here's the Wiki), four presidential assassinations, as well as the pain of watching the Red Sox win NINE World Series, which must have been unbearable.
I share their pain.....I’ve had to watch four of those Red Sox victories from the Bronx!
And while it doesn’t look like we are going to see a World Series champion at all this year due to the coronavirus, Wooster Brush is poised to remain one of the significant players in our channel through this difficult time.
After speaking to Ben, I started to get a sense for why they’re so highly regarded and how they’ve lasted so long! As we spoke, his passion for both his employees and dealers came through every word. For starters, Wooster has not had a corporate layoff in 65 years!
PAUSE, REFLECT ON THAT HERE!
Yes, through countless recessions including the Great one, through countless economic events including the current COVID-19 outbreak, Wooster has yet to lay-off a single individual since 1954.
In-fact, Wooster is currently paying time-and-a-half to any manufacturing employee who is willing to work during the pandemic. Fortunately for both them and their dealers, Wooster has remained opened, with proper accommodations for social distancing, through this outbreak.
I should not have interviewed him for a podcast, I should have asked him for a job!
I got a chance to ask Ben how his independent retailer customers are doing during the challenging times we currently find ourselves in and was thrilled to hear his answer: Fine so far (with a few exceptions). AND for those who are struggling due to the current situation, Wooster stands ready to help.
As the former owner of a 100+ year-old business, I understand Ben’s pride in what Wooster has accomplished! One-hundred and seventy years is a LONG TIME.
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