Fandeck of Features
A 3-part series designed to help you make the right tape choice for your next big project.
Palette of Departments
By Jerry Rabushka,
Here’s Where We Are
Since we’ve moved, I’ve been going for long walks around our new digs. For awhile I felt like a fish in a new aquarium, not surprising since downtown Valley Park is more or less inside a giant bowl. Due to flooding, they built a levee so it’s essentially a walled city. Nobody’s trying to invade, but during flood season they can close it off. On top of the levee they’ve laid a trail; I’ve walked it a few times—cool views!
There’s a contrast here of the fishbowl and the world outside. We work in a concrete jungle—literally, because we’re at fourth street and a Quikrete plant is at seventh. There is an industrial park color scheme for blocks on end. It’s grey, white, brown; but this historic blend of on-trend neutrals falls flat. The red of a stop sign, the blue of a street sign, there’s your color.
On the other hand, we’re about a 10-minute walk from the river, from some cool hiking and biking trails, from more butterflies than I’ve ever seen naturally in one place. You can take a picnic lunch down to the water and be in “nature” pretty fast. There’s a certain old-school feel here that you don’t get many other places, not sure if time passed the city by or the city just hasn’t bothered to keep up.
If you know a trade, you can walk up and down Marshall Road or St. Louis Avenue and most likely find work. There’s shops for auto repair, truck repair, and motorcycle repair. Garage doors, welding, trampolines, sheet metal, expert painting and finishing; if you can work with your hands, you can work. Reichhold, at Second Street, makes industrial coatings and polymers, sometimes you can smell the paint as you walk by.
There’s new building going on, too. You can buy a new home for a quarter million dollars to sit on your porch across the street from Valley Park Sanitation and Recycling. That’ll be fun on a hot day. I guess you don’t have to worry about taking out the trash, anyway.
The market across the street says, ”we serve fresh deli sandwiches” but I don’t think they’ve had a anything fresh for sale since we’ve been here. They’ve got a smattering of stuff, most of which has no price on it. They type in the entire UPC code at the register and you wait and see how much it costs. Once the sales clerk asked me how much I thought I should pay for a can of tuna because the price didn’t come up.
There’s clothes on the shelves, but you’re not sure if it’s for sale or someone’s laundry. Books, videos, mugs, again you’re not sure what’s for sale and what isn’t. In the world of how not to run a retail store, this wins the Nobel. But they’re nice folks and it’s what I see when I look out my office window.
Down the street is Meramec Jack’s; we’re on the Meramec river so it makes sense. They’ve come into the 21st century—you can get a veggie burger. You can easily eat there for less than 10 bucks if you want. There’s a railroad bridge over the river that looks old and rickety and I’m not sure the train still runs. The bike path goes underneath.
Truth is, no one needs to come here who doesn’t need to be here. You won’t just “drive through.” There’s about three ways in and out with pocket doors under the bridges to keep the flood waters out. I guess if that happens we won’t come to work, or we won’t leave.
The lack of paint here makes a difference—at least the lack of a color palette, and what little color there is seems to get swallowed up into the abyss of neutral. Maybe if Quikrete goes purple, things will start to change.
This is where The Paint Contractor comes from. I like it here.
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