From the first early days of Miller Paint Company when, in 1890, Earnest Miller Sr. purchased a stone mill and began manufacturing his own paint for use in murals and houses, to the Miller Paint of today, the foundation of Our Company has been built on the trust of our customers. That trust permeates through our employee ownership, our focus on superior product quality, providing extraordinary customer service, and a deep involvement in the community. The collaborative spirit you see today at Miller Paint is built on a teamwork of trust and a culture that rewards excellence, integrity and innovation in all aspects of our business.
Our Company has a rich heritage and history that began with our first of five manufacturing plants, located in a barn on San Raphael Street in Portland, coupled with our first paint store, opened in 1905 in Portland, on SW Front Avenue. The small family-owned Miller Paint business continued to grow under Earnest Miller Sr. and his three sons, Walt, Herb, and Earnest Jr. through World War I. In 1926, the current Grand Avenue location was built on the Central Eastside of Portland to house the new Miller Paint Store, the manufacturing plant, and the corporate office.
Walt Miller, who quit high school in 1916 to work at the company, firmly managed the Miller Paint business until his death in 1990. Herb Miller, Walt’s brother, is credited with designing the current Miller Paint “windmill” logo, based on the milling profession that utilized windmills, while Walt developed the very first company slogan “Things are Looking Better with Miller Paint”. The Miller Paint business grew and flourished through two plant relocations, in 1933 and 1955, and into the ‘70’s with expansion into three new stores in Seattle, WA, Beaverton, OR, and Vancouver, WA.
Meanwhile, construction on the current corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant, located near the Portland airport on Whitaker Way, began in 1975 with manufacturing operations starting up in 1978. The corporate offices were eventually moved to Whitaker Way from the Grand Avenue location in 1995. In 1980 Miller Paint had four stores, with two in Portland, one in Vancouver, WA and one in Ballard, WA. Additional store expansion in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s continued with new stores in Gresham, Salem, Corvallis, Tualatin, Oregon City, Eugene, Portland (82nd Ave), and in Burien, WA in 1995. After a seven year construction process, store #13, the Salmon Creek, WA store, was completed and opened in 2000.
With the advent of a new era in Miller Paint history, and the development, in 2001 and again in 2011, of two ten-year Strategic Plans, Our Company has, in the last seventeen years since 2000, opened or acquired 43 additional new Miller Paint stores. The 2017 store count of 56 stores includes locations from Ashland, OR in the Southern end of our market to Everett, WA in the North, and East to Spokane/Coeur D’Alene, Central OR, Central WA and Boise, Idaho. These 43 new stores have been the lifeblood for growth in our business. In the years beyond, I am confident that we’ll see further profitable growth as we finish out these ten years of the current 2020 Vision Strategic Plan.
The foundation for employee ownership in our Company was started in the early ‘80’s when a Company stock bonus plan was initiated to spread ownership to a broader base of Miller Paint employees. The adoption of our current Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 1999, coupled with the November 2000 buyout of the last large block of individually owned stock, marked the start of the new era for Our Company. Today, the broad ownership of Miller Paint by our employees has been a keystone to our success, and an important element of Our Company culture that is both empowering and exciting.
I welcome you to join in and learn more about the rich and proud tradition of Our Company, and trust you’ll see that we’re dedicated to making Miller Paint the best paint company in America today!