Starting a column from a blank page is a daunting challenge for many writers. Blank pages have a tendency to stare back at you, taunt you, and make you feel like the words have left you and won’t be coming back!
Thankfully, I have a 21 year-old daughter and so my bigger problem when I stare at the blank page is: will people believe this? With Miranda Lipton in your life, there’s no such thing as writer’s block!
With her “study” abroad semester in Barcelona finishing up well before her friends on campus in Ohio finished, the youngest Lipton is looking at two straight weeks of watching her friends take finals while she parties. Seems that the four months of partying she just had in Barcelona were not enough!
Just for fun it seems, we have been spending time speaking about her getting back into some sort of routine: maybe accomplishing a thing or two this summer (a father can dream)! She’s a budding journalist so she needs to be creating content all the time. And, unless she wants to spend the summer slinging cans of Regal across the counter like I did, she also needs a job!
I asked her yesterday if she had gotten to any of the things on the long list we had developed.
It’s important to stay calm when parenting. I remember reading that somewhere. But since I can’t remember where….I didn’t feel need to heed that advice.
“WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO ALL DAY?” I thought. My lips were smart enough to rephrase that thought as it transitioned into a sentence.
“I was very busy, I ran out of time!”
Like the man who gets killed in a horror movie because he cannot resist the urge to check the basement, I went one step further: “Doing what; specifically?”
“Well, I got up 4!”
“You got up at FOUR O’CLOCK??!! What have you been doing all day?” was halfway out of my mouth when it hit me:
She meant PM!
“One thing at a time!” she often says. I guess she counts waking up as “one thing”??
Anyway, none of this has anything to do with the paint business and I won’t be impressing you with my segueing skills today! I just thought you’d find that story entertaining while waiting for me to get to the paint part of this post. Hard stop: On to paint!
At the same time I hit “publish” on this blog post, I uploaded another episode of the “Mark, My Words” podcast. In this episode, I sit down with LeAnn Day. LeAnn is the CEO of the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association, or PDRA.
The PDRA is the industry trade association that represents independent paint retailers in the United States and Canada.
Over the years, I have written about the PDRA a number of times, and those pieces have not always been so flattering. The PDRA went through a time where even they would have to admit: their accomplishments were meager. In my writing on the topic, I always implored them to do more for dealers.
In an attempt to do exactly that, about three years ago the PDRA board hired LeAnn Day.
I’ll leave it to LeAnn to share with you exactly what the PDRA is up to but I’m happy to say that in my view, under LeAnn’s and the current board’s leadership, the PDRA seems to be heading in the right direction.
They advocate for dealers when needed and where possible, partner with others who do similar advocacy work; they provide education and support, and they collect data about our stores. That data gets shared with dealers and manufacturers so that anyone who needs to understand independent paint retailers can do exactly that. The PDRA is involved in putting on the paint portion of The National Hardware Show and of course they publish a magazine: “Paint and Decorating Retailer”, which comes to all of us for free each month.
The PDRA is in a difficult spot. In a world where every loudmouth with an iPhone is a blogger, do we even need advocacy groups? Many dealers obviously don’t feel like they do. I would be remiss if while reporting about the PDRA I did not mention that of the over 8000 independent retailers in the US and Canada, only a few hundred choose to join the PDRA (I am a member). Many among us get that representation elsewhere (like an AllPro), but clearly many among us do not see the need for that representation.
But there is only ONE organization which represents all of us and that’s the PDRA. So in my opinion you should spend the $149 a year and become a member. It’s true that by definition and by-laws they represent us all anyway; but to have much clout…. they need to increase dues paying members.
If the PDRA wants to continue to grow their member rolls, they’ll need to continue to offer dealers more services. Education and advocacy are important but as the stock of dealers continues to age, I’d like to see the PDRA take on a more robust role in helping existing dealers transition out while helping to find new dealers to transition in!
Joining the PDRA will be worth the the $149 (https://www.pdra.org/membership/join?member_level=basic). I believe that LeAnn has the PDRA on the path to greater accomplishment and I applaud her efforts. I encourage you to join.
So click on the link below or navigate over to podcasts in the menu above and give a listen. It’s all LeAnn, Her Words!
THE PDRA AND LEANN HAVE AGREED TO GIVE A FREE PREMIER MEMBERSHIP TO THE FIRST THREE OF MY READERS THAT EMAIL HER AT LEANN@PDRA.ORG. THESE ARE A $249 VALUE IF YOU HAVE ONE STORE AND $447 IF YOU HAVE UP TO THE MAXIMUM OF THREE STORES PER WINNER. THIS INCLUDES A FREE SEAT IN EACH OF THE PDRA TRAINING CLASSES THIS YEAR. EMAIL LEANN AT LEANN@PDRA.ORG AND PUT MARKLIPTONPAINT.COM IN THE SUBJECT LINE TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST THREE AND COLLECT YOUR FREE PDRA MEMBERSHIP!