News From Terre Haute, Indiana


October 2, 2011

FLASHPOINT: A great company will soon disappear from community

TERRE HAUTE — This is in reference to the Tribune-Star story of Aug. 6 concerning the Terre Haute Sherwin-Williams plant’s intention to close by end of the year:

The closing of the Sherwin-Williams paint factory in Terre Haute is an end to over 100 years of paint manufacturing and distribution here. Sherwin-Williams was just the final name for a continuously operating company.

In 1909, the Smith-Alsop Paint and Varnish Co. was founded by two men from Princeton in Gibson County. Their first manufacturing plant was located at 104 Wabash Ave. The factory production equipment was on the second floor and the retail store was on the first floor. The company maintained the retail outlet at that location until the building was razed in 1969 when the area was to be redeveloped.

In 1924, Dix Lumber Co. buildings and land were purchased at 630 N. Third St. at Spruce Street in order to expand. Guy Fredericks was president of the company. A new three-story concrete and steel manufacturing building was constructed in 1925 and it still remains. Manufacturing of paints and varnishes began at this location in 1926. There were several building expansions under the Smith-Alsop name. In the 1960s Smith-Alsop stores expanded outside the Midwest by opening stores in Tennessee and Alabama while opening a factory in Orlando, Fla., serving retail stores all over Florida

In 1969, M. A. Bruder & Sons, Inc., a paint manufacturing company located in Philadelphia, purchased the company. The Smith-Alsop name remained in use in the Midwest and south for several years, however, until the local operation’s name was officially changed to MAB Paints in 1977.

In 1984, many of the oldest buildings at the factory were demolished when the Third Street overpass was built. In 1983 and 1985, a new office building, finished goods and raw material warehouses were constructed to replace them and to expand the operations.

Paint production at the Terre Haute factory grew to 500,000 gallons a year in 1945 and to 1,000,000 gallons a year in 1969. Lee Roads became president of Terre Haute operations in 1973. His leadership led to a rapid growth of retail and professional paint sales in the South and Midwest. Annual production and sales grew to 2,000,000 gallons in 1987 and 3,000,000 gallons in 1996 with distributions to states from Michigan to Alabama and Florida and from Iowa and Missouri to Ohio. By the time Sherwin-Williams purchased the entire M.A. Bruder & Sons operations in 2007, nearly 100,000,000 gallons of paints and varnishes had been manufactured in Terre Haute. Sherwin-Williams closed the MAB factories in Philadelphia and Orlando soon after the purchase, but the Terre Haute plant remained in production, albeit much smaller, until now.

Over these 100-plus years, I think of the thousands of different persons who were employed at one time or another in Terre Haute at the factory, laboratories, distribution center and offices, plus store and sales within the states of operations. The local factory and shipping employees were represented by Painters Union Local 1123 from the 1930s to near 2000. Over those years there was never a strike. There was always outstanding cooperation between labor and management to produce quality products efficiently.

The same quality of employees was found in the technical, office, sales and store operations. I worked with manufacturing, sales and technical employees in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Georgia before joining this Terre Haute operation. The quality and loyalty of employees here are the best I have ever seen. I was proud to have worked with them for 26 years.

It is sad to see a great company disappear from Terre Haute.

— James Wood

Smith-Alsop and MAB Paints Factory Manager, 1972-1998

Terre Haute

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced.
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010