Sherwin-Williams Company is an American Fortune 500 company in the general building materials industry. The company, with headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, primarily engages in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of paints, coatings and related products to professional, industrial, commercial, and retail customers primarily in North and South America and Europe. The company is mostly known through its Sherwin-Williams Paints line. Its consumer brands group manufactures products under such trade names as Dutch Boy, Krylon, Dupli-Color, VHT, Minwax, Thompson’s WaterSeal, Pratt & Lambert, White Lightning, Purdy and Kool Seal.
HistoryFounded by Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams in Cleveland in 1866, the company operates through four segments: The Americas Group, Consumer Brands Group, Latin America Coatings Group, and Performance Coatings Group.
Sherwin-Williams PaintsAmericas Group, known as Sherwin-Williams Paints, was the first section of the company to be established, in 1866. These stores market and sell Sherwin-Williams branded architectural paints and coatings, industrial and marine products, and original equipment manufacturer product finishes and similar items. As of January 1, 2011, the Paint Stores Group operated 3,954 individual paint stores. By January 1, 2016, the Paints stores group had expanded to 4,080 stores.
The Consumer Brands Group develops, manufactures, and distributes various paints, coatings, and related products, under the brand names of Duron, Frazee, MAB, Minwax, Geocel, Kool Seal, Krylon, Mautz,, Bestt Liebco, Thompson's WaterSeal, H&C, Pratt & Lambert, Uniflex, White Lightning, Martin-Senour, Dutch Boy and Anthony Angelillo to third party customers in addition to overseeing the operations maintained by The Americas Group.
On August 28, 2007, Sherwin Williams purchased Columbia Paint & Coatings. On July 6, 2011, Sherwin-Williams acquired Leighs Paints, based in Bolton UK, manufacturers of intumescent and high performance industrial coatings. In late 2012, Sherwin Williams began the process of purchasing the Comex Group. Comex was the 4th largest paint manufacturer in North America. After Mexican antitrust regulators voted against the deal twice, Sherwin-Williams bought Comex's US and Canadian divisions for $165 million on September 16, 2013. PPG, US-based paint and coating company, acquired Comex's Mexican division for $2.3 billion.
In 2007, the company introduced its first "Idea Center" in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in an effort to provide customers with an interior design environment as contrasted with its conventional paint stores.
Sherwin-Williams Automotive FinishesThe Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes segment develops, manufactures, and distributes various motor vehicle finish, refinish, and touch-up products. It also licenses certain technology and trade names worldwide, as well as distributes Sherwin-Williams branded automotive finish and refinish products through its network of automotive branches. The Automotive Finishes segment opened their 200th automotive branch in Calumet Park, IL on September 21, 2007. The International Coatings segment develops, licenses, manufactures, and distributes various paints, coatings, and related products worldwide through 76 company-operated specialty paint stores, as of the above date, and by outside selling functions to other dealers and distributors.
Sherwin-Williams MexicoIn 1929, Sherwin-Williams Mexico started operations. Headquarters is in Mexico City.
Sherwin-Williams Mexico has 109 branches and 200 dealers.
STIR magazineSTIR magazine is a bi-annual publication delivering color news and resources to residential and commercial interior designers and architects throughout North America. The magazine is created and published by Hanley Wood, LLC. The first issue was published in 2004.
Commitment to ClevelandIn September, 2019, after years of rumor and speculation, the company announced that it was moving its global headquarters - then in downtown Cleveland - to a larger, more expandable, high-technology-friendly site. It would consider remaining in Cleveland, but was evaluating sites in the region and out of state.
After five months, in February 2020, Sherwin-Williams declared it would remain in the city of Cleveland, which would provide hundreds of jobs for the region as well as an estimated $600 million investment in a new one-million-square-feet HQ building that will become a worksite for 3,500 employees. The company is also building a new 500,000 sq. ft. research and development center on the site of a former VA hospital in Brecksville, OH, saying a suburban, less densely populated location would work better with its research and coating development processes.
The first step in the procedure took place in March 2020 when the company paid $49.5 million for property currently used as parking lots in downtown Cleveland in an apparent cash transaction. The HQ building is expected to open in 2023.
Recent controversiesSherwin-Williams, an American company primarily engaged in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of paints, coatings and related products has been subject to several recent and significant controversies. There has been increasing scrutiny from both the public and governmental agencies, such as the SEC. The issues have ranged widely from cancer-causing toxins contaminating new residential properties to financial fraud.
Lead paint lawsuitIn January 2014, the Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled that Sherwin-Williams, NL Industries and ConAgra were jointly and severally liable for $1.15 billion, to be paid into a lead paint abatement fund to be used to remove lead paint from older housing. The judge ruled that the paint companies manufactured, marketed, and sold lead paint without disclosing the health risks to the consumers in spite of "actual and constructive knowledge that it was harmful." In March 2014 Sherwin-Williams was denied a new trial.
As per their 2013 annual report, Sherwin-Williams considers this case without merit and will appeal the decision. The process may take another two years. The disposition of The People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company et al. in the California 6th Appellate District Court on November 14, 2017 is that
On February 14, 2019 the California Supreme Court denied the defendants' request for review, sending the case back to the trial court as ordered by the Appellate Court.
Attempted diversions and national boycottsOn April 9, 2018, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and representing attorneys uncovered that Sherwin-Williams tried to ”shift the blame to contaminated water in an effort” to avoid tens of millions of dollars in settlements. As many as 170 children have been affected by the potentially fatal lead poisoning.
On June 28, 2018 Consumer Watchdog declared a national boycott of paint from Sherwin-Williams “stores after the paint maker said it was going forward with a deceptive California ballot measure to erase its liability to the public for poisoning families with lead in its paint.” Sherwin-Williams has allegedly been evading accountability resulting in severe damage to its company brand.
Charity marketing ployIn 2014, a charity promotion was created indicating that $1 million would be contributed to the Angels Baseball Foundation “any time an Angels batter parked a home run ball in the can. Well, left-fielder Justin Upton did just that last Tuesday, September 19, 2017 in the ninth inning. That’s when it transpired that there was a catch all along: The ball had to enter the can on the fly. Upton’s homer ball bounced at least once before caroming into the can. So, no contribution.” The organization has been nationally criticized for the marketing ploy and the ethics of the organization have been put into question.
2017 federal class action lawsuits
Superdeck lawsuitIn late 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Sherwin-Williams, claiming it was responsible for eighty of its major coating products for being defective. Customers have repeatedly claimed that the quality of the products have failed a few months after applying the coating by peeling and chipping away. Attorneys are now examining all other products for similar faults.
Lawsuit for cancer cluster in residential homesOn August 22, 2017 a federal “class action lawsuit was filed in the New Jersey Federal Court” against Sherwin-Williams. Residents are expecting the court “to hold Sherwin-Williams accountable for the contamination that is causing residents, including children, to develop cancer and other serious medical conditions.” The residents concern is that contamination has now migrated to surrounding residences and businesses within Gibbsboro, causing a cancer cluster within the town. In August, 2018, the lawsuit was tossed by a federal judge due to the claims of the suit being too broad.
2018 financial fraudAccording to the Wall Street Journal, in June 2018 a credit rating agency analyst with insider information regarding the then-unannounced acquisition of Valspar by Sherwin-Williams, and two acquaintances were arrested and charged “with securities fraud and conspiracy and face additional civil violations in the continuing investigation.” The investigation includes information that the men used inside information before the deal was announced. Financial contracts, transactions and firms associated with the organization may face increased scrutiny as a result. No Sherwin-Williams employees were connected to the crime.
Awards and recognitionSTIR magazine has won several industry awards, including a 2005 FOLIO award for best design, new custom publication, as well as a 2007 Pearl Award from the Custom Publishing Council for the best in custom Publishing category.
On June 20, 2011, Computerworld named The Sherwin-Williams Company the #58 Best Place to Work in IT.
In 2015, Sherwin-Williams was recognized as the most used brand as well as the winner for brand familiarity and quality rating in the Paints category by the Builder magazine.
As of 2018, Sherwin-Williams was ranked 190th on the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by revenue.