I realized it had been 30 years since I got semi-apprenticed to a wallpaper craftsman in Middletown, Ohio, where my wife and I moved right after we got married. Vernon White (or Whitey, as he preferred to be called) was about my age when I went to work for him. I had been painting for awhile but I wanted to learn the tricks of the trade from a master, which he was. And he was looking to train somebody else to take over his business since his sons didn't care to.
In addition to learning how to hang wallpaper (after about a year of helping him with prep he finally let me hang my first strip), I learned the importance of taking good care of customers. He had some he'd been working for repeatedly for over 40 years. In addition to being a master at painting and wallpaper, he was also a master organization. He was always on top of his schedule and he had his tools in order at all times.
It hasn't come as easy for me as it did for Whitey, but I finally figured out that part of the problem was I never really had the right space. Corners of the garage for tools and paint and the side of the house to stack up ladders just wasn't making it. What I needed was a home for all my stuff - one spot where everything was.
Katie was helping me get the administrative side of the business in order with calendars, plus she finally dragged me into the digital age and got me a tablet to keep track of things, which has helped. (And I'll let you in on a little secret - if you get an email that says it's been sent from my iPhone or my Samsung Galaxy, you'll know it's me. Otherwise it's my wife masquerading as me as she holds down things at the office.)
Not only does it have a ton of shelves and places to stash everything, but it's got a utility sink so I no longer have to wash out buckets and brushes in our kitchen or bathroom. (If you listen carefully you can hear my wife cheering.) And one of my favorite things about this shop space is that the overhead bay door is big enough for me to pull the van in and load up, even ladders. No more dragging stuff out from under the deck or trying to figure out where I put the sprayer! Plus I don't need to carry things around in the van because I don't know where else to put them.
I trust all this will lead to being able to take even better care of our customers. If you'd like a tour of our new shop, give me a call. I'm pretty pleased with the space and enjoy showing it off. Plus I'd like to give a hearty thank-you to all our customers who have had to put up with scheduling mix-ups and have been patient with me as I've figured out how to get things in order. I appreciate your trust and support.