The year was 1964. Gas was 30 cents a gallon, a new home cost $13,000, Casius Clay was Heavyweight Champ, the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan, and Benjamin Moore opened its distribution center in Milford.
The Sumner Street location boasts 85 employees with additional thousands all over North America. “Both manufacturing and distribution of product takes place at the local Milford plant, producing and shipping out millions of gallons of paints and stains per year,” said Dennis Swanson, manufacturing manager for the company's North America region.
Swanson is most proud of the new Natura brand paint. Natura contains no volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are produced in the manufacturing of paints and can be harmful to the environment. VOCs are released in very small doses after paint is opened and put on a surface. “We will continue to tell the story and market this exciting new environmentally friendly paint,” Swanson said.
Benjamin Moore has long produced Low VOC and Zero VOC paints but until recently, color selection was limited. They introduced their first zero VOC paint more than 15 years ago—an environmental milestone at the time—but now, unlike their competition, they have it available in thousands of colors."Being green has never been so colorful," said Carl Minchew, Benjamin Moore director of color technology. "Until now, zero–VOC paints meant restricted color options, because traditional colorants add the VOCs," he went on to explain in a press release on the company's website. "But, Natura is built upon Benjamin Moore's patented Gennex waterborne colorant system, and it's the waterborne technology that makes the difference. So, no matter what color you choose, it will never add to the VOC level."
Being green will continue to be a major focus of the company, which was recently ranked as one of the top 35 Green Companies in the United States, according to GreenBiz.com.
Benjamin Moore & Co., was founded in 1883 when Benjamin Moore and his brother, Robert, opened Moore Brothers in Brooklyn, NY. They started with $2,000 and one product.
This past year, the company celebrated its 128th anniversary worldwide and its 47th in Milford. With seven manufacturing plants and 22 distribution centers in North America, they are now one of the country's leading manufacturers of premium quality residential and commercial paints and stains. Their products are distributed through a network of more than 4,000 independent paint and decorating retailers located throughout North America. Two of those dealers are right in Milford: Gerry's Paintland and Ace Hardware.
With their acquisition in 2000 by Berkshire Hathaway, Benjamin Moore joined a family of companies under the direction of legendary investor Warren Buffett. Swanson said “2010 was a solid year, and we expect growth in 2011.” With the paint industry closely tied to the construction industry, those words may bode well for the local and national economy if the construction industry experiences the growth in 2011 that Benjamin Moore expects.