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20 Things You Didn't Know about Sherwin Williams


It doesn’t matter if you paint houses for a living or if you have never painted anything in your entire life, there is no doubt that you have heard of the major paint corporation Sherwin-Williams. You see the commercials and you hear the name, but what do you really know about this company? You might think that you know all you need to know about them- you go to one of their stores when you need paint, you get what you need, and you go on. That’s all well and good, but think about these twenty things about the company. Chances are, you’ll be surprised by the time you are finished reading through this list. It might even change the way you look at buying paint.

1. They don’t just sell paint in the United States

A lot of people think that the company only sells paint in the United States. It’s interesting that when you talk to people, almost everyone seems to think this but nobody can really pinpoint how they arrived at that conclusion. The truth is, the company has a rather large presence not only throughout North America, but also in both South America and Europe.

2. They now own the paint company Valspar

Up until a couple of years ago, Valspar was its own company, manufacturing paint for various uses. In 2016, Sherwin-Williams made the decision that it was time to purchase the company and Valspar effectively became a part of the Sherwin-Williams family. This might seem confusing to the general customer. After all, you still see Valspar paint in stores. In reality, they never stopped selling the paint. They merely purchased the company and with it, they purchased the rights to the name Valspar. Therefore, they can continue to sell the paint under the same name. That way, anyone who is loyal to the brand won’t feel the need to go looking for something else upon hearing the news that Valspar was purchased by someone else.

3. The company’s name came from its founders

This one is probably easy enough to figure out on your own, but it’s an important part of the Sherwin-Williams story, nevertheless. When it was first started, two different individuals made the decision to go into business together and sell paint. As you have probably already figured out, one carried the last name of Sherwin and the other carried the last name Williams. They decided it would be easiest to simply create a company that carried both of their names and that’s how the company became Sherwin-Williams.

4. They actually operate under not one, but four, different names

This one is much more likely to surprise you. Here in the United States, you know the company as Sherwin-Williams. However, it’s important to remember that they also do business in other areas, Europe, North and South America, as previously mentioned. The interesting thing is that they don’t do business in every area as Sherwin-Williams. In fact they also operate under three other company names, Performance Coating Group, Latin American Coatings Group and Consumer Brands Group. SOme of these name changes reflect not only the fact that the paint is sold in other areas, but also that it is being sold for a very specific purpose outside of painting a house. More on that will be discussed later on.

5. They’ve been around since 1866

The company was formed far more than 100 years ago. In fact, they celebrated their 100th birthday back in 1966, more than 52 years ago. That’s definitely impressive in and of itself, because there just aren’t that many companies that find a way to stay in business for that many years.

6. They don’t just sell paint for houses

If you are like many others, you think about paint for houses when you think about Sherwin-Williams. After all, that’s what they are best known for. That being said, you might want to know that they also sell paint for other uses that don’t have the slightest thing to do with painting a house. One of the more surprising areas where they do business is in the marine industry. That’s right, they sell paint for boats and all kinds of marine equipment.

7. They have more than 4,000 stores

Four thousand stores is a lot, but they actually have slightly more than 4,200 stores operating in different places around three continents. That’s a massive amount of business that is conducted on a daily basis. Just imagine what kind of inventory goes through there each and every day.

8. All together, there are approximately seventeen different brands of paint owned by them

These paint brands are technically known as subsidiaries, meaning that they are not wholly owned by the company but they are, in some way, associated with them. Typically, that means that they have some sort of stake in each of these brands of paint. When it’s all said and done, most of the paint brands that you are used to seeing are associated with them, even if they don’t carry the Sherwin-Williams name.

9. They also have two brands of their very own

The two brands are called Weatherbeater and Easy Living. They are completely owned by Sherwin-Williams. You know how you can go to Wal-Mart and buy a name-brand product or you can buy what amounts to the same thing for less money when you buy the store brand? It’s the same thing when it comes to paint.

10. However, you won’t find either brand in a Sherwin-Williams store

It seems odd that even though these brands have been developed by Sherwin-Williams, you can’t buy either brand of paint in an actual Sherwin-Williams store. This is something that has perplexed customers for a number of years and it continues to be a source of confusion. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know that Weatherbeater and Easy Living are made by the company and those that do can’t figure out why they can’t buy it at a Sherwin-Williams store.

11. In fact, there are only two places you can find them

The thing that is particularly interesting here is that you won’t find either one of these brands in a Sherwin-Williams store. Right now, you can find them in some K-Mart and Sears stores but with the current state of things regarding those stores, that is certainly subject to change in the near future.

12. They sell home goods that don’t involve paint

If you’re in the mood to hang wallpaper in your house, you can buy that at one of their stores, too. Wallpaper isn’t nearly as popular now as it once was, but that doesn’t mean that some people don’t want to have it inside their homes. If that’s something that resonates with you, you now know where you can go to get that coveted wallpaper that you can scarcely find anywhere else.

13. They’re branching out in order to spark more creativity

These days, everything seems to be about helping everyday people become amateur interior decorators. They jumped on the bandwagon too, as they weren’t about to let everyone else in the industry start doing that sort of thing while they sat back and did things the old fashioned way. As a direct result, they created a design center where anyone can go and try their hand at decorating their own place, complete with the ability to see what it would look like as a finished product. You might say that they took all of the guesswork out of painting and decorating.

14. The company employs more than 52,000 people

As you can imagine, a company of this magnitude is going to have to have a lot of employees in order to meet all the demands of doing business on a day to day basis. They literally have thousands of people working for them, more than 52,000 of them.

15. They generate a lot of revenue every year

They also make a lot of money. Last year, they made about 15 billion dollars in revenue, something that many companies would salivate over. The truth is, there are plenty of corporations out there that do business for years and they never get to the point of doing this much business or making this much money. They have always been a popular company and they continue to be popular to this day.

16. Your car might be painted with Sherwin-Williams paint

You already know that your boat and other things may have been painted by the company. DId you know that the same thing might be true for your car? It’s not as if you’re likely to see automotive paint with the name Sherwin-Williams plastered all over it, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t own the company anyway. Remember, they actually do business under four completely different names.

17. They’re a big deal in Mexico

More recently, they made the decision to expand into Mexico and they made sure that when they arrived in the country, everyone knew about it. They came in with a bang and they started opening stores all over the place. In a very short amount of time, less than two years, they have increased their business tenfold in that country. More importantly, the business is still rapidly growing throughout the region.

18. They’re no stranger to the courtroom

It probably won’t surprise you to know that they have been sued for this and that over the years. The truth of the matter is that in the current legal system, especially with regard to that in the United States, people have a propensity to sue anyone and everyone if they think they have a halfway decent shot at getting some money out of them. Therefore, almost every major company has been sued numerous times. The same is true here, this time because of lead paint. The thing is, everybody that sold paint up until the late 1980s had lead paint for sale. However, they did end up settling a large number of cases out of court. Just so there’s no confusion, they haven’t sold any lead paint in a very long time.

19. An offer to donate money for cancer research turned into a big black eye for the company

At one point, they made a decision to announce to the general public that they were going to donate a significant amount of money to cancer research every time a certain baseball player hit a home run. However, they didn’t tell anyone that it only counted if he hit the ball directly into a Sherwin-Williams style bucket. This all came to ahead when he hit a home run and they refused to pay up. To this very day, many people feel like the company has some issues with ethics. Furthermore, it hurt their business because when people stop feeling like they can trust you, they find somewhere else to go.

20. They were also voted in the top 100 best places to work, but not for what you might think

During the last couple of years, they were voted #58 on the list of the best places to work in the United States, but the type of job they landed this award for actually doesn’t have a single thing to do with paint. In fact, it has nothing to do with any type of paint or home decor. Instead, it was IT department that ended up with the award. If you just so happen to be an IT professional, this might be something you want to check out as part of your next career move but if you are working in the individual stores as a clerk and stockperson, you might not feel like things are so great. Like most things, it depends on the individual environment that exists from one location to another. Not surprisingly, that environment can change a lot.

Now that you know more about the company that has been in business since before you were even born, you can think about all of these things the next time you find yourself in need of some paint. The same is true if you have a sudden desire to paint your car or your boat, or even when you decide you want to give a nod to days gone by and wallpaper your house.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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