Incorporated 1913 as Shawnee Motor Supply
Five Shawnee businessmen rented a building on Main Street of Shawnee in 1913 with a vision of selling repair parts and supplies for all of the steam engines that were rapidly replacing farm laborers. Little did they know that Henry Ford had just begun to mass produce a vehicle that would change the world of personal transportation.
Dust Bowl, Depression & War
This picture of the SMS staff on Feb. 2, 1929. We all know what began just 4 months later. The stock market began collapsing, dropping over 80%. 3 out of every 10 workers lost their jobs. This was compounded in Oklahoma by an historic drought that lasted for most of a decade. Then the War to End All Wars. SMS, like all businesses that survived, lost a great deal of business and let go a large number of employees.
A Major Decline
The late fifties saw the company begin to decline. Every little town had at least one parts store. The original owners were gone and the new owners didn't invest in the newer ways of supplying parts. This downward spiral lasted more than a decade. A young new owner bought it in 1968, started focusing on body shop business, and began turning it around.
Past Oklahoma Car Companies
W.R. Lantz Mfg. 1910's & 1920's
Ford Motor Company 1915 - 1931
Oklahoma Automobile Mfg 1915 - 1934
Midland Motor Car 1917 - 1918
Geronimo Motor Co. 1917 - 1920
Tulsa Automobile Co. 1918 - 1920
Wichita Motor Car 1918 - 1922
The automobile business went wild. The number of car makers and repairers grew rapidly. SMS took advantage of this growth by using other advancing technology. They began producing sales catalogs in bulk, and hiring salesmen in various towns around the state and putting telephones in their homes so they could communicate rapidly.
After World War II, the automobile industry became mainstream. The number of cars produced grew 400%. Repairers became professionals. Some of those repairers were starting to repaint cars in the back stall. In 1939, SMS started supplying DuPont's Duco Lacquer and the products to support it. In the early 50's, they added a branch in Tulsa and bought a railroad-side warehouse in Shawnee to offload all of the bulk items they were selling.
Successful New Direction
In 1968, Frank Scroggins bought what could only be described as a failing business. He chose to focus less on the parts business and more on the paint business. When Rick & Cindy bought it in 1996, they disposed of the remaining parts, expanded the paint options and changed the name to represent their complete market focus. Shawnee Paint is now the biggest independent paint supplier in Oklahoma for their industry.