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The Sherwin-Williams Company
Traded as
IndustryGeneral building materials
FoundedCleveland, Ohio, U.S. (1866; 153 years ago (1866))
Number of locations
4,620 stores[1] (2017)
Area served
Key people
Revenue (2017)
Increase US$1.528 billion[1] (2017)
Increase US$1.814 billion[1] (2017)
Increase US$19.958 billion[1] (2017)
Decrease US$1.774 billion[2] (2013)
Number of employees
53,368 (2018)
  • Retail Stores
  • Diversified Brands
  • Automotive Finishes
  • Chemical Coatings

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 (a division of Dupli-Color), Minwax, Thompson's WaterSeal, Pratt & Lambert, White Lightening, Purdy and Kool Seal.


Founded by Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams[3] in Cleveland in 1866, the company operates through four segments: The Americas Group (known as 'Sherwin-Williams Stores'), Consumer Brands Group, Latin America Coatings Group, and Performance Coatings Group.

Sherwin-Williams Paints

A Sherwin-Williams Paints in Gillette, Wyoming

Americas 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, Purdy, 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.[4] On July 6, 2011, Sherwin-Williams acquired Leighs Paints, based in Bolton UK, manufacturers of intumescent and high performance industrial coatings.[5] In late 2012, Sherwin Williams began the process of purchasing the Comex Group. Comex was the 4th largest paint manufacturer in North America.[6] After Mexican antitrust regulators voted against the deal twice, Sherwin-Williams bought Comex's US and Canadian divisions for $165 million on Sept 16, 2013.[7] 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 Finishes

The 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 Spray Source

The Sherwin-Williams Spray Source service centers offer new equipment, parts and accessories, maintenance and repairs to rental programs. There are over 100 service centers located across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. They have factory-trained technicians that provide maintenance and repairs on paint sprayers, pressure (cleaners) washers, conventional spray guns, HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) systems, plural-component equipment from manufacturers like EXEL North America, Kremlin Rexson, Sames, Johnstone, Graco, Titan/Speeflo, Spraytech/Wagner, Capspray, ITW Binks, AccuSpray, Mi-T-M, Pressure Pro, and more. They provide repairs like maintenance, emergency and warranty, telephone troubleshooting support, on-site demonstrations, and training. Prior to 2008, the program was called SherWorks.

Sherwin-Williams Mexico

In 1929, Sherwin-Williams Mexico started operations. Headquarters is in Mexico City.

Sherwin-Williams Mexico has 109 branches and 200 dealers.

STIR magazine

STIR 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.

Gray Drug

Between 1981 and 1989, Sherwin-Williams owned Gray Drug.


In March 2016, it was announced that Valspar would be acquired for $9.3 billion U.S. dollars. The merger was finalized 1 June 2017.[8]

Recent controversies

Sherwin-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.[9][10]

Lead paint lawsuit

In January 2014, the Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled that Sherwin-Williams, along with 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.[11][12] 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."[13][14] In March 2014 Sherwin-Williams was denied a new trial.[15]

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.[16] 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

... the judgment is reversed, and the matter is remanded to the trial court with directions to (1) recalculate the amount of the abatement fund to limit it to the amount necessary to cover the cost of remediating pre-1951 homes, and (2) hold an evidentiary hearing regarding the appointment of a suitable receiver. The Plaintiff shall recover its costs on appeal.[17]

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.[18]

Attempted diversions and national boycotts

On 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.[19][20] As many any 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."[21] Sherwin-Williams has allegedly been evading accountability resulting in severe damage to its company brand.

Charity marketing ploy

In 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 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."[22][23][24] 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 lawsuit

In 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 that the quality of the products have failed a few months after applying the coating by peeling and chipping away.[25] Attorneys are now examining all other products for similar faults.

Lawsuit for cancer cluster in residential homes

On 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."[26] 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.[27]

2018 financial fraud

According 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."[28] 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 recognition

STIR magazine has won several industry awards, including a 2005 FOLIO award for best design,[29] new custom publication, as well as a 2007 Pearl Award from the Custom Publishing Council for the best in custom Publishing category.[30]

On June 20, 2011, Computerworld named The Sherwin-Williams Company the #58 Best Place to Work in IT.[31]

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.[32]

As of 2018, Sherwin-Williams was ranked 190th on the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by revenue.[33]


Sherwin-Williams' major competitors are PPG, RPM International Inc., Axalta Coating Systems, BASF (through Ace Hardware and Lowe's), Behr, (through The Home Depot), Kelly-Moore Paints, and Benjamin Moore. There are also several smaller, regional competitors, though Sherwin-Williams has acquired a few of them (such as MAB and Columbia Paint & Coatings and Parker Paints) in recent years. Valspar was acquired in June 2017.


  1. ^ a b c d e The Sherwin-Williams Company. Form 10-K Securities and Exchange Commission. Dec. 31, 2017.
  2. ^ THE SHERWIN-WILLIAMS COMPANY Form 10-K, Securities and Exchange Commission, February 27, 2014
  3. ^ "Country Boys Make Good..." Sherwin-Williams. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Drukenbrod, Mark. "Columbia Paint & Coatings Co. to merge with Sherwin-Williams, Hercules acquires specialty surfactants business of Dexter Chemical L.L.C., Benjamin Moore acquires Finnaren & Haley Paint & Coatings". SpecialChem. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ ": PaintSquare News".
  6. ^ Cho, Janet. "1 comment Sherwin-Williams buys Consorcio Comex's U.S. and Canadian business, still hopeful about Mexican division". Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ "Consorcio Comex, the Mexican paint company Sherwin-Williams wanted, being acquired by rival PPG Industries".
  8. ^ Jamerson, Joshua (19 December 2016). "Sherwin-Williams, Valspar Say Merger Is on Track to Close by End of First Quarter" – via
  9. ^ Comegno, Carol (23 August 2017). "Gibbsboro residents sue Sherwin-Williams over cancer-causing toxic waste". Courier Post.
  10. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (26 June 2018). "U.S. charges S&P analyst, 2 others with insider trading in paint merger". Reuters.
  11. ^ Rosenblatt, Joel (2013-12-17). "Sherwin, NL, ConAgra Lose $1.1 Billion Lead Paint Ruling". Bloomberg News. Retrieved .
  12. ^ Rosenblatt, Joel (2014-01-08). "Manufacturers Must Pay $1.15 Billion in Lead Paint Suit". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved .
  13. ^ Elias, Paul (2013-12-17). "Lead Paint Lawsuit: Judge Orders 3 Companies To Pay $1.1 Billion For Removal Services". Huffington Post. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Kleinberg, James (7 January 2014). "Judge Kleinberg's Order, final statement of decision, Case Number 1-00-CV-788657" (PDF). Santa Clara County Superior Court's Electronic Filing System. Retrieved 2014. The defendants sold lead paint with actual and constructive knowledge that it was harmful
  15. ^ VALHI INC /DE/ Form 10-K on 03/13/2015
  16. ^ "Annual Report 2013 page 32-33" (PDF). Sherwin-Williams. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2014.
  17. ^ Judge Nathan D. Mihara; Associate Justice Eugene M. Premo; Associate Justice Franklin D. Elia (2017-11-14). "The People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company et al". California Courts - Appellate Court Case Information. Judicial Council of California. Retrieved . ...we can accept the inference that defendants' pre-1951 promotions increased the use of lead paint on residential interiors during the period of those promotions...
  18. ^ "California Courts - Appellate Court Case Information". Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ Mary Spicuzza and Daniel Bice (9 April 2018). "Paint industry accused of trying to create diversion over lead poisoning in Milwaukee". USA Today.
  20. ^ "Lawsuit Accuses Paint Industry for Milwaukee Lead Poisoning". AP. 9 April 2018.
  21. ^ Consumer Watchdog (28 June 2018). "Consumer Watchdog Calls For Boycott Of Sherwood Williams Paint".
  22. ^ Michael Hitzik (25 September 2017). "How Sherwin-Williams' cute charity promotion at Angel Stadium turned into a PR problem". LA Times.
  23. ^ Andrew Joseph (20 September 2017). "Justin Upton's home run into the $1 million can doesn't count due to a lame technicality".
  24. ^ Whitney McIntosh (20 September 2017). "Sherwin Williams isn't donating $1 million to the Angels' charity because of a technicality".
  25. ^ "Superdeck Lawsuit Over Peeling, Chipping, Cracking". 17 January 2018.
  27. ^ Comegno, Carol (8/24/18). "NJ Superfund neighbors can't sue Sherwin-Williams over cancer claims". Courier Post. Retrieved 9/6/18. Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  28. ^ WSJ (26 June 2018). "Financial Analyst and Two Friends Charged with Fraud in Sherwin-Williams, Valspar Merger".
  29. ^ " - CBSi".
  30. ^ Painting Florida
  31. ^ Mitchell, Robert L. "No. 58 Best Place to Work in IT: The Sherwin-Williams Co".
  32. ^ "2015 BUILDER BRAND USE STUDY RESULTS". Builder. Retrieved 2015.
  33. ^ "Fortune 500 Companies 2018: Who Made the List". Fortune. Retrieved .

Further reading

External links

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