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Going Away Party
I wasn’t planning on doing this until August 2027. I was going to write my 35th anniversary column and bid the industry farewell. As it stands, I’m not sure if I’m bidding farewell, but as Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher for The Paint Dealer and The Paint Contractor, farewell will be finalized after our next and last issue and Mugler Publications will close down. I’ll be blunt—as I’ve been accused of more than once—with the move from print to digital advertising, we can’t make ends meet and we need to close our doors. It was not a decision we made lightly; it was not a decision we wanted to make at all. For all of you who have enjoyed us, read us, even come to depend on us for industry news and information, I am very sorry.
There are a lot of folks I need to thank, too many over these years and I’m sure I would leave people out. I’ve worked with a lot of awesome and amazing people, and as they get new jobs they move on to other things. Sometimes you think back and say to yourself, “if only Tricia was still doing that job, stuff would get done.” But things change, and I’m not always good at change. I’ve had a Star Wars poster on my walls almost continuously since 1983. It’s collectible because it advertises Revenge of the Jedi before the movie title was changed to Return. It finally came down this year. Once something is in place, it stays in place. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.
So while I’ve got this platform: once my Paint Dealer email expires, you can get hold of me at [email protected]. I can write and I’m for hire. I can even write music for your promotional video. I always like to tell the story of when I took the Feature Article Writing class in college and the professor said I didn’t have what it takes. And when I came in here in August 1992, I looked at an issue of The Paint Dealer and thought “I could never do this.”
I’ve often told how when I took this job, I took it from a writing perspective, and I decided to make paint, painting, and even paint drying as interesting as I possibly could. I know it surprised a few folks, but most of the time we got good response. We could take the mundane and make it fun to read. As I got more into creating and curating The Paint Contractor we became positioned as the voice of the smaller painter, the guy with two or three, maybe seven crew members. We put you on the cover because what you do and who you are is important and worthwhile—it makes a difference to so many people. As someone who doesn’t love to paint, I’m glad to come into contact with so many who do.
Nick Slavik, you created a national constituency and educated America on the dignity and respectability of being a professional craftsman who strives for the best. Rich Bloom, you showed us that a painter can work on his own terms, even if it means making certain sacrifices for that freedom. Marion Armwood, you showed us that any kind of painting matters and can be done with pride, be it high end residential or quick turnover apartments and dormitories.
Erick Gatcomb, you’ve shown us a bit of everything, some might say too much, but you’ve humanized the profession and you’ve made it OK to publicly declare, “I had a drink after work.” [Emphasis on the after.] There’s more accomplishment in that than you know. Matt Drinnon, Zack Harris, Tyler Hansen, you’ve helped us show out professionals who love to paint, who don’t just do it because they can’t hold a job at Seven-Eleven. That it’s a worthwhile profession, and that it deserves respect and good pay. Beverly Kruskol and Elaine Thompson, you showed us that a woman can find a place in what’s mostly a man’s industry, and that in the long run it doesn’t matter who wields the brush or who signs the check. To the many paint retailers I’ve met over the years, you’ve shown us how to stand up to the challenges of an inevitable change, to come out stronger, to look it in the face and say, “I’m not going anywhere.”
From here, it always felt good to reward hard work with some good words in these pages. Everyone can’t be rich, and everyone can’t be famous, but for a day in TPC you could be all that. What I will regret most is if I lose the power to do that; if the industry loses the place and the power to do that, we will all be worse off for that loss.
I guess, and since as I write this Boss’s Day is around the corner, it’s important to mention at least a small contribution from “da boss” and company owner Hans Mugler, who did everything he could to keep this going longer than many people thought he should have. I know some folks see him as rather blustery, but he’s fostered an environment here that lets us rise to our best achievement; everyone on staff has been able to contribute their creative abilities in their own style without being micromanaged. In order to work here, you had to be a self-starter and get your job done without someone in your rear view mirror, but you could bring your own creativity to the office without being shot down. He’s been a friend to every one of us on staff, often going above and beyond “just about work.” I think a lot of people would appreciate having a boss like Hans.
With any luck I’ll be around the industry, with any luck one or both of these publications will come around in a different form; perhaps we can still bring you the good word of products and processes under another banner. I hope, if we are friends, we can stay friends. Thanks to all of you who have stuck by me, our wonderful staff, our mission, and The Paint Dealer & The Paint Contractor magazines. It’s been our pleasure to be of service.
Not over, not out.
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