Updated: May 20, 2019
Last night when my fiancée Gaetana (pronounced Guy-tah-nuh: we call her Guy for short) got home from work, I was still upstairs in my office writing. Shouting up to me that she was home, I told her I was just wrapping it up and would be down in 5 minutes.
I was in a hurry to finish! We had planned an outing to our local happy place: Hope Street Pizza. Just the name makes us happy: squeezing “hope” and “pizza” into one name was marketing genius! Or at least they showed some wisdom when they put a pizza shop on Hope Street!
I wrapped it up and went downstairs: dressed and ready for date-night! When I saw her, Guy said: “Screw you, you loser! I'd NEVER go out with YOU! Now....go get me a pizza!”
OK, she might not have said it exactly that way!
But she didn’t have to! In the moments it took me to get downstairs, she had changed into her pajamas and was already laying on the couch under my most comfortable Ohio State Football blanket (the one from my bachelor days, with the cigar burns)!!
Without speaking a word, she had sent her message! For those that are unsure, that message was:
Half meat-lovers, half plain….I’ll be here when you get back with it!
Speaking of delivering messages, I’ve delivered the message here many times about the value of attending trade shows. This past week, I was in Las Vegas for the National Hardware Show. I am aware that I can drone on about the value of these shows so I’ll make this part quick: you should have been there!
I believe that these shows add a lot of value and while I generally don’t go to NHS to buy (though the Lancaster Buying Show is right next door if saving money is your thing) I get a ton of other value.
When I used to write for the magazine, I would often mention my attendance at trade shows but would never get into too many details. By the time I came back from a show, waited for the next deadline and THEN it was published and mailed to all of you, it was often two months between show attendance and the reader. The passage of that much time made it seem less valuable to me.
There is a lot more to the NHS than just the Elvis impersonators (see picture below). All the paint manufacturers were there of course, but generally speaking: I know what they are offering! It’s the sundry guys that I like to spend my time with.
Here are a few that impressed me:
AquaCoat(https://aquacoat.com) makes a grain filler that stands above the rest! I generally think of this as a niche item for a paint store but if it fits your product mix, their “Cabinet Grain Filler” is a winner! Eliminates the appearance of any grain even under a high gloss! I’ve seen other products like this, but this one was outstanding.
InstaTrim(https://instatrim.com) makes a cool product which they call a “flexible trim solution.” It’s hard to describe exactly what this product does (which may hold it back in some ways) but basically it’s a peel-and-stick trim-type item that makes a flawless line to enhance a quality looking job or hide the sins where less care has been taken. Comes in colors or is paintable. Neat idea!
Nix Color Sensor(https://www.nixsensor.com). Color computers as we used to know them, keep getting smaller. The Nix device is about the size of a medium size strawberry! Fits in your pocket, runs off an app on your phone and seems to match colors like a champ! The app was really impressive as well.
(Author’s note: There are a number of these items on the market now and they really seem to work! We sell them, rent them and give them out! I’ll be doing a review of the market leaders on an upcoming episode of the Mark, My Words podcast!).
Peel-Tek(https://www.peel-tek.com) makes a brush on and then PEEL OFF liquid masking and surface protection. Liquid mask is nothing new, but this product IS! Stays on for weeks (MONTHS!) and then just peels off any surface. But this stuff is MORE than a liquid masking paper because its THICK! So it can actually protect a tub or sink during painting or construction. And then it just peels right off with no residue!
As always, there were some vendors there that I just didn’t understand. There was one company who took a booth and was just selling tray liners! It’s got to cost a minimum of $20,000 to set up, man and break down a booth at NHS. I’d have more to peddle than tray liners before I spent that money! I walked the floor for 3 days and rarely saw anyone in their booth.
I’ll give two awards, (Markies!) to the vendors that caught my greatest attention.
The Markie for “I just don’t get this?” goes to the Gonzo company! For $180 the Gonzo Company will give you a jobsite-caulking heater! Keeps your caulk warm when the weather is not! If it’s so cold out that you need to warm your caulking, you probably should think about working inside that day! I like their name though! It tells me where they’re going to be when next year’s NHS rolls around. Days later I still find myself thinking: “This is a dumb idea!”
And the Markie for “Best Display” goes to The Little Giant Ladder Company (https://www.littlegiantladder.com). These are not your father’s ladders! And they let you know exactly what they think of your father’s ladders: In their booth, they have a full-size coffin with an “old-style” four-foot aluminum step-ladder laying in it! See the picture below, this display got a LOT of attention.
Next week, I’ll have another episode of the Mark, My Words podcast! Over the last few years, the paint companies that serve the independent retailers have turned from leading us towards more DIY business to stores that sell to more painters! That’s wise….the data shows that that is where the market will be taking most of us. In the next episode I’ll sit with one of the New York areas largest painting contractors and I ask him: what’s it going to take to make the sale to him! If selling to painting contractors is part of your plan, you will want to listen in to this episode.