General Finishes was started in 1928 by a Milwaukee lumber company to make stains and finishes for their cabinet shop customers. For decades, the company plodded along slowly, narrowly averting a disaster in 1971 when GF’s product supplier, the sole owner of the formulas, closed down. Rescuing the formulas, General Finishes managed to survive until 1984, at which time George Adams bought the company. GF was then selling $200,000 a year out of a 2000 square foot store front with two employees (George was sales and Rob was production).
In 1988, General Finishes established its presence in the unfinished furniture market with the purchase of Prelude and moved into a new 4000 square foot plant. We purchased our first automated equipment, a pour machine and a forklift.
By 1992, General Finishes again outgrew our facility and built a new 7000 square foot plant in New Berlin, a Milwaukee suburb. In the same year, we introduced our award winning water based line, which really launched our growth. Two years later in 1994, we added another 8000 square feet for a total of 15,000 and our employment finally reached double digits. We added 2 more pouring machines and another automatic labeller. Sales have increased more than 20 times since 1984.
Completed East Troy factory, 2007.
In 2004, Bill Leightner joined General Finishes to develop our new industrial sales division. And in May of 2006, we have moved to a new 35,000 square foot (3,200 square metres) manufacturing facility in East Troy Wisconsin.
In 2006 General Finishes was launched into the UK and European market. UK warehouse relocated to new larger premises in Edinburgh at end of 2012.