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  • Mark Lipton

WAIT, Don't Light That Match!

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

There’s nothing funny about turning 80! But still every time I see my father, he’s laughing! I don’t know if that makes him a genius or an idiot but either way: he’s still smiling!


My father is of this time, but not of this era! From an era when just having a calculator made you a tech giant: Billy had an adding machine! His charm and charm alone made him a success as an independent paint retailer. He would tell you that himself: he wasn’t a great businessman. I remember the first time I saw the books of my family’s business: just a few weeks before I took it over in 1992: Pickles that sank on a star, often type with two Erica’s!

His accounting system made less sense than that sentence!


(Please, someone text me and tell me how many times you read that sentence before you moved on?)


But he didn’t need to be able to keep a ledger to keep a customer. They lined up in the morning to see my father. Painters, by the sidewalk-full lined up to buy paint from him, just to experience his charm. For the painters in the Bronx he was part paint salesman, part entertainer and all friend.


Recently, I was down in Florida visiting my parents. When we are all together, my dad and I still like to spend our time talking about paint stores. Without my mother and Gaetana around.....we’d probably talk about it all day! There is something about those stories!


So often history like that is lost!

Thankfully, we live in a world of recording devices and I had one in my bag! I set my mike up for you so you could enjoy with me a tour through the ages of a paint store, with my father narrating your journey. Until I made my first podcast, my father had never heard of one. He still doesn’t know what they are: just that I make them.

And now he’s starring in one.


I should have this new episode edited and posted early next week. I’m excited to share it with you! Before you do listen, open up a bottle of paint thinner and have a sniff. It will transport you back in time.


No DeLorean needed!


The paint store of my father talks about was a loud and smelly place. Take a sniff of paint thinner: that was my youth! My father was always covered with that smell: we were careful not to light a match around him!


After listening to my father talk about his time in a paint store in 1960 you’ll understand why I remember it as so loud and smelly! Opened cans of oil-based paint, lead and paint thinner where omnipresent! Decades in that environment have left him without a sense of smell!


Not that being an independent retailer is easy now, but doing it in my father’s time was hard! I think you’ll enjoy hearing this new episode so keep an eye out for the notification shortly.


Tomorrow, I head out to the Orgil show and I’m really excited! It’s in Chicago and more importantly is my first hardware only show: I can’t wait! I’ve been promised a few minutes to meet with Orgil’s CEO, Boyden Moore and I’m looking forward to telling you all about it!


If you’re at the Orgil show and see me, stop and say hello! I won’t bite (though I will ask you a few questions about what you do, how many stores you have etc.)!


Until then!





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©2019 by Mark Lipton

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