The Paint Factory
The Stebbins & Roberts Office Building and Factory was constructed in 1947 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The building is an intact example of a post-war commercial and industrial building and is the only industrial building designed by Burks and Anderson, prominent Arkansas architects.
In 1914, A.H. Stebbins and Gardener Goldsmith started a modest sign painting business in the basement of a small commercial building on West 6 1h Street in downtown Little Rock. In 1916 they expanded to
manufacturing a small line of paints, operating as Stebbins & Goldsmith, renting the retail space above the basement workshop. In 1919, Lindsey Roberts, the son of a well-known Pulaski County plantation owner, bought Goldsmith's interests, changing the name of the company to Stebbins & Roberts. The company expanded their retail operation and began producing a larger line of paints, "S&G Brand", which was quickly acquired by the Benjamin Moore Company. Stebbins & Roberts then became the sole distributors of Benjamin Moore paints in Arkansas. The company expanded, placing sales agents in many towns around Arkansas, selling Benjamin Moore paints, linseed oil, and wallpapers.
After World War II, Stebbins & Roberts experienced massive growth, with 1946 being the most lucrative year in the company's history. To accommodate this growth, Stebbins & Roberts built a new office and factory building in the East End. The construction of the new building was announced in The Arkansas Gazette in May of 1947. The company continued to expand in the early 1950s and 1960’s. The company received several high-profile supply contracts, such as the formulation of a clear varnish that was applied to the gold leaf dome of the Arkansas State Capitol.
The warehouse became overcrowded in the late I960s, resulting in the decision to expand the original building, adding on a large wing to the east. The addition was completed in 1971. High profile supply contracts in the late 1970s and 1980s included the Excelsior Hotel, the Capital Hotel, and the Tower Building. These contracts helped the company continue to prosper despite increasing sales competition from home improvement stores. The company name changed to Sterling Paint in 1995, when Jim Adamson, son of longtime employee and former president Sterling Adamson, took over as president. The company was acquired in 2003 by Iowa Paint.
Cromwell Architects Engineers purchased the building in the fall of 2015 and has worked with developer Moses Tucker to turn the 50,000 SF former factory and office space into a mixed use development while retaining the historic elements of the building. It will be the new home to Cromwell's headquarters as well as retail space, loft apartments, and a restaurant. The Paint Factory renovation is the flagship project of a large revitalization of East Village, downtown Little Rock neighborhood that has been long neglected.