Posted by: Diane Capuano
In the May issue of PDR Magazine’s new “Retailer to Retailer” feature, we introduced you to PDRA’s Vice President/Treasurer Jim King, owner of Colormagic in Cookeville, Tenn. Excerpts from that interview are posted below:
Q: Can you provide a bit of background about you and your store?
A: My start in the paint industry was in college. I worked part-time as a stock boy. When I graduated from college with a degree in Wildlife Management, the owner of the store needed a manager. I told him I would serve as manager until he could find someone else to manage the store and if I could look for a job in my major. He became ill, and four years later, I bought the store. Forty years later, I still enjoy the business and hope to have many years to come.
Q: What is it about your business that sets you apart from other paint and decorating stores in your community?
A: We strive to do things that no one else will do. We custom-tint caulk and stain to match whatever the customer brings in. We keep customers’ paint records as far back as 1992. We have the ability to custom-order in small quantities a product that a customer cannot find in our area. We put in new products sooner than most stores. We open at 6:30 in the morning to accommodate our contractors. We will also come in after-hours for our customers.
Q: Can you tell us about your experience with PDRA (and its predecessor organization NDPA)?
A: As far back as I can remember, Colormagic has been involved with the NDPA and the PDRA. When I started to work at the store, we were members of the NDPA (that was 1973). Through the PDRA, my staff has received continuing education. The friends I have made over the years through the PDRA are priceless. The magazine that the PDRA produces is a world of information and is by far the best in the industry. I am proud to be a part of the PDRA and all that it does for the industry.
Q: You serve as the Board of Directors’ Vice President/Treasurer. What are your priorities for your term in office?
A: The mission of the PDRA is to support and educate the independent paint and decorating retailer. My first goal is to be sure we have the best education out there for our members. We have two new online courses (Coatings Specialist and Customer Service Specialist). Both classes are top-notch and are some of the best in our industry, and are very affordable for our members.
We are also involved in helping our members get involved in social media. Social media is how we as independents will reach the new wave of customers. Several of our members are like me and have been an independent dealer for many years. Our vast knowledge of product is great, but we lag behind in how we get it out. We have not grown up with a smart phone in our hands and are intimated by them. That is where the PDRA can help. We have board members that are in the know on social media and have a wealth of information. As a Board, we are working together to improve our annual PDRA show at the National Hardware Show®. (If you have not been in a while, you need to attend).
Last but not least is our “Retailer to Retailer” initiative. We are working on ways to keep all of us connected so we can learn from and share with each other. If our industry is going to flourish, we need to work as a team and not as competitors.
Q: Give us your best “sales pitch” regarding why an independent paint store owner should join PDRA.
A: These are exciting times to be in the paint business. The challenges are greater than they have ever been, but if we work together, our industry can be a viable part of the economy for years to come. If we as owners will band together and share our failures and successes and learn from each other, there is no end to what we can do. If you want your business to grow and survive and reach its full potential, then the PDRA is a must! I have learned more from other dealers than any facet in our industry. We need each other more today than ever before. The PDRA is dedicated to meet the needs of the independent paint and decorating dealer.
Q: Any other thoughts?
A: As I look to the future of our industry, I see more changes than ever before. As someone once told me, blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. We need to be willing to change. To survive the changes in our industry, we need each other. We need to work together (a Band of Brothers). Our future is bright, but only as bright as we make it. Let’s work together to make our industry the best it can be.
Tags: Retailer to Retailer