First there was Rob.
I don’t remember how I met Rob. I was opening our first store in Boston and I believe he simply answered my help wanted ad. He was quiet and it took a few months to discern who he was.
The store had a slow start, located in a basement across the street from Pearl Paint – then the dominant player in our trade. But Rob in his gentle way won over artist after artist and built a solid business.
One day Rob came to me to say he and his wife Jamie wanted to buy a home and they couldn’t afford Boston housing. They wanted to move to Philly. O.K. We’ll open a new store in Philly.
Enter Jeff. Jeff had always been there as assistant manager but I knew little about Jeff.
After Rob went south Jeff stumbled around for a little while and then that thing happened: that thing that sometimes happens when the lid is off and an assistant has to become master. It happened to Jeff. So now I have two great managers.
The other day he came to me with an invitation, “come to Boston.”
“You visit the stores when there are troubles or problems. Why don’t you visit when things are good? We’d like to get to know you better.”
So I did. Even this old dog can learn from Jeff.
Monday, Sep 22, 2008
First there was Rob.
Friday, Aug 31, 2007
In our 2002 catalogue I wrote…
“This catalogue finds my business and our world in an interesting time in the circle clock of history. The shrinking world puts each of us in contact with humans all around the globe.
We can’t ignore international trade and business. Our clothes, food, and even art supplies are made everywhere. Shopkeepers, like me, seek their best values for their customers – often to be found in the low wage third world.
How do I feel about today’s retailing? Pretty good.
Yes, it’s true that American jobs are being lost, but third world jobs are being created. Our world will be a more peaceful place only if jobs and money are more evenly spread. Containers coming in from China and India may be our best insurance against the anger of war and terrorism.”
Beware; sometimes the things that you wish for come true.
Now a days people come into our store looking at labels. What they’re not looking for is “Made in China.”
Here’s our dilemma. Here’s our position.
There are economic realities that we ignore at our own peril, but within those realities we can steer towards a better result.
The dilemma is that the American consumer’s present standard of living is based on the import of cheap Asian goods and retailers who ignore that reality are put out of business. Another dilemma is that domestic management, companies, and jobs are being lost so that we are even more dependent on those overseas factories.
Our position: At first we named our Asian imports honestly so we sold “Mao Brushes” and “T’ang Easels.” These were products made to our specifications in China.
Our later position is to support domestic companies even if they use Asian manufacturers. Better yet we keep production closer to home if possible. We presently buy all the Canadian stretched canvas they can make for us.
Tuesday, Aug 14, 2007
A&C partners with DaVinci Paint to help repaint a historic mural in Leon, Nicaragua. Marcello Dworzak, President of DaVinci Paint, of Irvine, California is donating gallons of his new fluid acrylic to the artist community of this small Nicaraguan city on the Pacific. The mural depicts the plight of the Nicaraguan peoples who have suffered with many invasions. A&C President, Larry Adlerstein, came across the mural when he was visiting his 19 year-old daughter who was “gap yearing” in Central America. The teenager was traveling alone, often hitchhiking for months. Dad went down to “check up on her.” They stayed at Rancho Esperanza, a hammock hostel on the beach. $12 a night room and board. They had 2 flat tires getting there. The mural graces the walls of the Central Square. The hot Central American sun has faded the years old painting. The cooperation of DaVinci Paint and local artists will brighten the mural with Artist Grade Pigments. The Leon effort is being organized by Danilo Gutierrez Garcia.
Thursday, Feb 09, 2006
At this writing, February ’06, the individuals and companies that bring you color, brushes and surfaces are embroiled in a debate about MAP – Minimum Advertised Prices. We are having an important dialogue.
Some manufacturers (and we support these manufacturers) feel the excessive discounting damages the reputation of their products. It makes them look cheap.
The also feel that this deep discounting will centralize distribution. Only the most efficient, the Wal-Marts, will survive and the smaller retailers will fail.
As the retail distribution becomes more focused the few big survivors can dictate terms and smaller manufacturers will be pushed aside and the manufacturing base may slip away to china where manufacturing is cheapest.