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Old 06-04-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
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Benjamin Moore changes in ownership, business practices.


This is not news to those in the paint profession, I'm sure, but here is what my local BM dealer told me about the company. It is now owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway and they are turning the company in the direction of increased profitability and lesser customer service.

They have increased the cost of becoming a licensed dealer and have greatly decreased the number of regional service representatives. They have also lessened restrictions on the locations of dealers where there use to need to be at least 25 miles distance between dealers to reduce competition, there is no longer that distance requirement. Also they are looking to get into Lowes.

Granted this info is coming second hand from one guy. He gave me a lot of information so I may have misinterpreted some of it. I was just wondering what others have heard.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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Benjamin Moore changes in ownership, business practices.


Berkshire took over Ben Moore in January of 2001. The rest of you post is inaccurate as well.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:44 PM   #3
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Benjamin Moore changes in ownership, business practices.


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Originally Posted by Jim F View Post
This is not news to those in the paint profession, I'm sure, but here is what my local BM dealer told me about the company. It is now owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway and they are turning the company in the direction of increased profitability and lesser customer service.

They have increased the cost of becoming a licensed dealer and have greatly decreased the number of regional service representatives. They have also lessened restrictions on the locations of dealers where there use to need to be at least 25 miles distance between dealers to reduce competition, there is no longer that distance requirement. Also they are looking to get into Lowes.

Granted this info is coming second hand from one guy. He gave me a lot of information so I may have misinterpreted some of it. I was just wondering what others have heard.
Hi Jim...

Most of it's all true...However, Buffet & Company purchased Ben Moore 5 or 6 years ago (maybe longer)...Shortly after, they were entertaining the idea of marketing their products to Home Depot for their new proto-type Expo Stores (a high end designer showcase type store)...Home Depot scrapped the Expo stores in 2009 and nothing more (yet) ever became of the Ben Moore & Home Depot alliance. That's not to say they're not still considering Home Depot, Lowes, Menards or any other large box stores, seems to be the popular thing to do with national paint companies, and they are available in Ace Hardware Stores now (among a few other chain type stores).

I don't know what their geographic boundaries are for independent dealers, but I think they're still fairly generous towards productive dealers - and like so many other companies right now, they've whittled down their sales staff to service LARGE geographical territories (unfortunately at the cost of service)...

Sad thing is, it's not just Ben Moore - all the nationals are starting to behave in the same manner. To the nationals, the big boxes are the future. It's also sad that all one has to do is observe the other nationals who've committed themselves to the box stores to see what direction the future will take them, in terms of product quality and product line depth (think Valspar and Behr - then think Martin Seynour, Dutch Boy, Conco, Pratt & Lambert, Olympic, Cabot, etc.)...Ben Moore, Sherwin, PPG, ICI - all of 'em doing pretty much the same thing.

Times they are-a-changin' and this is one of the reasons I continue to shout from the hill tops that regional manufacturers are the brands most closely aligned with, and dependent on the success of, the local independent paint dealers. Too many independent dealers line their shelves with national brands without even realizing their own vendor may be their largest competitor in their own market...Soon, in many markets, the only place a painting professional will be able to buy product will be either big boxes or national brand company stores (think some companies are high priced now?...)
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:01 AM   #4
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Benjamin Moore changes in ownership, business practices.


I'm less concerned with what the owners of the companies are doing than what the government is forcing them to do. The owners own the companies, and they're free to do whatever they like. If you don't like it, you're free to go somewhere else. If enough people go somewhere else the companies will suffer the consequences of their actions and either change or go out of business. However, the government can coerce, at the point of a gun, a company to do something against its interest, and will, up to and including things that can force it out of business. I don't buy global warming, not at all. But because you do, I'm forced to suffer the consequences of your belief. I have fewer and fewer choices, less and less liberty. And I don't buy the health effects either, as the amount of exposure to paint is infrequent and incidental to the general consumer. If anything, as a pro, I carry that freight with day in and day out exposure. They're both the result of dedicated special interests with deep pockets and a flair for hysteria. If there is enough demand for "green" products the market will respond and provide them.
We bemoan anything "big", but we allow the government to institute regulations that almost guarantee that only the "big" will be able to survive, an economies of scale scenario. Small community banks are slowly closing their doors due to the weight of Dodd-Frank financial regulations, which are also making lending more difficult for banks and consumers alike. As the government becomes more aggressive and proactive with the paint companies, or chemical companies in general, we'll find that the small regional companies, that Ric likes and promotes, will no longer be able to comply and follow the banks out the door. Think critically, it's something we do too little of.
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