Who We Are
Eighty years ago John R. Wetnight and Mary Wetnight came to Shelbyville, Indiana, to open and manage a paint and wallpaper store. This location would be one of ten similar stores that opened in the early twenties and thirties by business men Watson Neal and Ralph Love. The store opened in the fall of 1936 at 110 S. Harrison St. John Wetnight was a native of Jasonville, Indiana, one of nine siblings with teaching aspirations. The first of his family to attend college, he graduated from Indiana University with a Masters Degree in mathematics. In 1932 teaching positions were scarce, so he went to work for his brother-in-law Ralph Love in the Bloomington, Indiana, store. Soon after, he went to Paris, Illinois, to help with a store there. Things went rather well as he liked the paint business and met and married Mary O’Bannon in August of 1936. John and Mary were married for 61 years and had five children.
The Shelbyville store sold the Smith-Alsop brand of paint manufactured in Terre Haute, Indiana, for many years. Wallcovering was also a large part of sales as the store stocked more than 300 patterns. Art supplies were soon added to supply the growing art trade. One notable artist Harold Hancock purchased his supplies from this store. In the early years, only stock paint colors were available. Paint was made in large lots by mixing white lead, linseed oil, turpentine and Japan Drier. If a special color was needed, dry pigment was added to white to get the desired color. Later custom colors were available by mixing different tubes of colorants. The mixing was done by using a paint paddle….imagine! Today, many of the colors made are tinted by using a computer tinting machine and color spectrophotometers. However, our employees are very good in fine tuning that perfect color. John Wetnight Jr. joined the Store in the early 60’s and Ray Wetnight joined in the early 70’s. When Mom & Dad opened in 1936, the typical shopper went to town on Saturdays, shopped for groceries, usually went to one of the many movie theatres in town and then did the other shopping. Many times Mom and Dad would be in the store after 11:00 P.M. showing wallpaper and other items. When my dad was in the Navy during WWII, Mom managed the store. Wednesday afternoons the businesses in town closed. Dad went fishing. Over the last 80 years, Shelbyville Paint has always been receptive to change. As time and need required, new products were brought into the store to sell. Some items included Christmas decorations (that aluminum tree with the colored spinning light wheel and Styrofoam balls), roller shades and window treatments. A modest selection of floor covering was added in the late 70’s. As this product category grew, a change was needed. In 1986, the adjacent 112 S. Harrison St. building was purchased to expand our growing floor covering sales. Shelby County was growing and so was Shelbyville Paint & Wallpaper Co. The Parrish Lumber site had become available in the early 90’s. Ray and Cindy Wetnight purchased this property and started designing the current building. Construction was started in December of 2000 by Runnebohm Construction, a local general contractor. The current store opened May 21, 2001. This 9600 square foot building has ample space to show, sell and store all of our decorating products.
From the early days of having just one paint vendor, and a few wallpaper patterns, Shelbyville Paint now has five manufacturers of paint and coatings including a new private label line of ceiling paint. Wallpaper, window treatments, floor coverings for all facets of décor, cabinets and countertops are also available. Shelbyville Paint has been blessed with many great employees that have worked tirelessly alongside John Sr. John Jr. and Ray. Bob Wetnight, Kermitt Money, Nancy Wetnight, Jeff Miller, Jerry Parmer, Norma Blackmore, Clint Lee, and Cindy Kuhn, just to name a few. Currently Shelbyville Paint has a staff of seven awesome employees; Josh Spence, Ryan Holt, Cheryl Wayt, Brent Parsley, Cindy Wetnight, Jenny Parsley (business partner) and Ray Wetnight, President. With the ever changing needs of Shelby and the surrounding communities, all of us with Shelbyville Paint have decided that our name just doesn’t say it all. For that reason, Shelbyville Paint & Wallpaper will be changing our visual name to: “Shelbyville Paint, Flooring and More.” With this change there will also be a change in the signage and logos to reflect who we are and our longevity with a “retro” look, reminiscent of the 1936 Smith Alsop logo of the “wings.” The Wetnight family has had the extreme pleasure of growing up in Shelbyville. John and I are humbly thankful for the many opportunities to serve this Community and along the way have made many friends through our work, socially and our faith.
On behalf of John, Martha, Cindy and I,
Thank You Shelby County!