KANSAS CITY, MO – The Davis Paint Co., North Kansas City, Missouri, is marking its 100th anniversary in 2021. The story of Davis Paint Co., founded in 1921 by Berry Davis, is unique because Davis was very innovative in the way he launched the company and nursed it through its early years. Davis began his company at his home in Kansas City with a sales plan, $150 in postage stamps, a mailing list, and some printed material. What resulted was the building of an agency paint business with a system of operation somewhat like that of the Fuller Brush Co. When orders came in, Davis would supply the paint. Davis believed most of his business would come from the sale of kits to the agents, not from the sale of paint. He discovered almost immediately he was wrong; a surprisingly large number of orders for paint came in.
This method of operation reached its peak in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the mailing amounted to an estimated three to five million letters annually. Physically, the company grew rapidly. Before 1925, Davis Paint had purchased all its paint from a Kansas City producer. In that year, it also began buying from a Cleveland firm. In 1926, the owners of the Cleveland operation sold the equipment and the business to Davis Paint. In 1927, Davis began manufacturing a private-label paint line for Sutherland Lumber. In 1928, Davis began manufacturing at its current location in North Kansas City.
Over the years, the company has expanded into the industrial sector while keeping its architectural roots. It also produces toll and private label coatings for a variety of industries. Davis Paint continues to operate under the guidance of its founder, Berry Davis who penned the company motto “Quality goes into the paint before the paint goes into the can.”