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Paint Manufacturer Networking…

 

For over thirty-three years, my father made it a special point to stop by and visit area paint manufacturers’ stores and warehouses. Year-round, the paint shop’s schedule ran bone-tight. And, my father’s schedule allowed little or no time to spare

 

Still, he paid a visit to at least one paint supplier. Every week. He believed in taking a special interest in the persons that operated those stores. The professionals that serviced customers. Like him.

 

He respected them. And, he listened to what they had to say.

 

  1. He picked up special orders, and more products and supplies.
  2. He wanted to ensure that the men had what they needed to do their jobs.
  3. He wanted to ensure that the men could finish current projects as contracted: according to specification, in compliance, and on, or ahead of, schedule.
  4. He helped the on-site and project foremen and crews out.
  5. He requisitioned, purchased, and picked up orders.
  6. He loaded up with valuable stuff, and carried it back to the shop and/or onto our job sites.
  7. Product samples.
  8. Industry news.
  9. Insider notifications about new architectural/construction projects.
  10. Advance announcements of scheduled demonstrations, certification programs, etc.

 

He knew them all. He knew everyone at each store. He knew which company manufactured and sold the better, or best, product for each specific surface, area, and job. Also, the most cost-effective price.

 

He knew who to ask about what. He knew who to trust – who would tell it to him straight. Including both the pros and cons of their own products, materials and supplies.

 

Occasionally, it worked out that I could go along when my father needed to pick up supplies. His main regular stops: MAB, Sherwin-Williams, Glidden, PPG, Benjamin Moore, Duron, Valspar.

 

 

I don’t follow in those footsteps – exactly.

 

I try to stop by a paint store once a month – besides for picking up supplies. My biggest reasons:

 

(1) to visit with the store manager or assistant manager;

(2) to pick a technical consultant’s or manufacturer rep’s brain;

(3) to run into other area painters and decorators; and,

(4) to check on what’s new, changed, discontinued, etc.

 

I’m not as skilled, as my father, at paint store “stop-offs.” I’m not as tuned-in as he was. My stops at local paint manufacturer stores are briefer, and less often. They are more like: “Run in, say ‘Hi,’ visit for five minutes, get what I need, load it onto my truck, leave the experts to their work, and drive away.”

 

Back in August, I was drafting a blog about a special ceiling paint project done over two years ago. Last month, on the same 91-degree afternoon, I stopped at three manufacturer stores, Michael’s Crafts, and  Home Depot to re-check my facts for the products and materials that I’d used on that project.

 

It was good to see that, at the paint manufacturer stores and at Home Depot, painters’ and painting contractors’ trucks filled the parking lots. And painters in their “whites” were shopping inside.

 

At Sherwin-Williams, I re-checked color chip numbers and names for primers and paints.

 

At Gliddens, I watched the live demonstration of a newer commercial clear coat that floats glossy smooth onto any interior surface.

 

At Porter Paints/PPG, the manager rummaged in an old cabinet, and found a color, or “paint chip,” book from 2013.

 

At Michael’s, an artist paint product expert showed me a few application advantages of Liquitex, when painting special-effects “virtual” walls in children’s bedrooms or play areas. Exciting!

 

At Home Depot, the coating specialist got me a sample of Behr’s acrylic resin coating for residential driveways. And, I helped a lady customer understand how to get a visually accurate idea how her selected grey blue paint color would look in her bedroom.

 

The thing is…

 

In 2015, painters’ visits to the actual paint stores are an anomaly. Any supply or sample can be ordered on-line, and delivered to the door. Product information, composition, colors and finishes, pricing, availability, shipping terms, etc. can be researched on manufacturer, distributor and industry websites.

 

Paint stores e-mail their news, announcements, notices, and invitations.

 

You can say “Hello,” “live chat,” and “keep in touch” with paint store managers and reps by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.  You can group-meet by Skypp.

 

What painter and decorator needs to stop by the actual store, like my father and his fellow crafts persons did?

 

Well… ME!   Perhaps you, too.

 

Stop by a paint manufacturer’s local store. Say “hello.” Get acquainted. Check out their product sales. Pick their brains. Tap into their networks. Stay connected. They are product and procedure experts. And, they are still great GO-TO guys.

 

Amazing product possibilities can surface for your next surface-finishing project at a paint store or paint shoppe.

 

Hot Summer Tip: Too hot and humid to put in those long hours painting outdoors? Knock off a little early. And, stop by a paint store you haven’t visited for too long. (A carry-in snack for everyone there might be a nice touch.)

 

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Discovery is a fun part of the work day. A time to get out your goals, and travel forward.

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Thanks to everyone that visits, follows, comments, and critiques “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Bob The Painter’s BUCKET LIST

One Christmas, my father surprised his brother-in-law with a grey, five-gallon paint bucket, filled with basic painting supplies and tools. The scientist and engineer’s face lit with surprise – and joy.

My uncle dreaded painting anything. Particularly, on his contemporary home. He knew his limitations. Doing a good paint job was one of them. By his own admission, he took forever to get something done.

So, Dad gave him a big boost. A “hands-up.”

Here’s what my dad crammed into that bucket. Then, he drove that paint bucket, in his 4-wheel drive, full-size Suburban, through a record-breaking Indiana blizzard, to sunny Central Florida.

 

3 paint brushes – 1-inch, 2-inch, 3-inch

1 roller extension pole

2 roller frames and nap covers

1 roller pan, 1 paint screen

1 pack 220 sandpaper

1 pack 120 sandpaper

1 pack assorted sandpaper

1 sea sponge

2 rolls masking tape – ¾-inch, 1 ½ -inch

1 putty knife

1 scrub brush

2 paint scrapers – 1-inch, 3-inch

1 quart container paint thinner

1 package breathing masks

1 package disposable (surgical) gloves

1 9-ft. x 12-ft. dropcloth

6+ Glidden wood mixing/dip sticks

1 white painter’s utility apron

1 Glidden painter’s cap

 

Topping off the bucket was a white regulation painter’s safety helmet. And, a massive red bow.

 

I’m certain that, over time, my uncle used some of the items in that bucket. More than once.

 

Still, within six months of my move to Florida, he asked me to paint the interior of his home. I turned him down.

 

Painting anything was not on my bucket list at the time. Painting anything – the idea of using any painting trade supply or tool – reminded me too much of the man that had filled that bucket for his brother-in-law. The man that had filled my first painter’s tool box with everything I’d need to get started.

 

The man that had given me my own white regulation hard hat!

 

It took me a little while to pick up a brush again. It was not a Purdy or Wooster.

I started with artist brushes, acrylic paints, white Gesso, stretched canvases, a paint tray, a scraper, a tri-pod, etc.  Instead of painting walls, I painted on canvas. Examples: Abstracts, geometrics, graphics. My biggest project: A 36-inch by 42-inch reproduction, in acrylics, of The Lord’s Supper.”

 

Little by little, I unpacked my boxes of commercial painter’s supplies and tools. I went around and introduced myself to the managers of Glidden’s, Sherwin-Williams, and PPG stores in South Florida. I volunteered, and redecorated a few properties of relatives and their friends, churches, and non-profits. I signed up at the nearest IUPAT local. And, I returned to the commercial painting profession.

 

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What’s on your painter’s – and life’s – BUCKET LISTS?

 

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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