The history of Gemini begins with history of its founder, William H. Smith.
William H. Smith began his career in the paint industry when he graduated from the University of California with a major in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Mechanical Engineering shortly after serving in the Marine Corps in World War II.
On December 22, 1964, Mr. Smith started a company called Gemini Products. The name for the new company was taken from the constellation in the Zodiac called "Gemini" of the twin stars. Four years later, because the focus of the business was almost entirely on lacquer products, the name of the corporation was changed from Gemini Products, Inc. to Gemini Lacquers, Inc.
The new company's first order was for twelve drums of lacquer from Chickasha Mobile Homes, Chickasha, Oklahoma, on January 2, 1966. Mr. Smith had one 165-gallon tub and one agitator, which had been loaned to him by Louis Evans of Southwestern Paint Company. He worked seventy-two hours to produce the twelve drums of lacquer in the original plant site, located at Northwest 3rd and Douglas in Oklahoma City. In February of 1966, the plant was moved to 25 North Council Road, Oklahoma City, where it remained until March of 1970.
After a considerable amount of negotiation, Mr. Smith was able to obtain the assistance of the El Reno Industrial Foundation to construct a new and larger facility. In February of 1970, the move was completed and production began in a new 100' X 150' building on the present site.
The present site consists of approximately eleven acres of land and four separate buildings. Since the original building was built in 1971, five additions have increased the total covered area to 125,000 square feet.
Also in 1984, Gemini Lacquers became the parent company of four other coatings-related businesses with locations in Texas, Virginia, Georgia, Nevada and Oklahoma. In 1984, located on the land and building to the south of Gemini Coatings, Gemini Aerosols became a custom package of aerosol products. Plus, Superior Coatings and Dallas Spray Equipment in Dallas, Texas was purchased.
Gemini’s principle statement says, “Our people are the source of our success". For Gemini team members in 1984, that principle became more than words when the company became employee owned. Since then, Gemini team members have enjoyed the benefits of an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program) that lets them accumulate a significant retirement income from funds invested in their name by the company in Gemini Stock.
In 1989, Gemini further expanded its product offering to include wood and concrete preservatives and wood waterborne products. To reflect the change in operations, on January 1, 1990, Gemini Lacquers was renamed Gemini Coatings. Dallas Spray Equipment was sold in April of 1989 and Superior Coatings was merged with Gemini Coatings on January 1, 1992. Gemini’s Dallas operation is currently a distribution center that serves both the Texas trade and industrial customers.
In December 1994, Gemini purchased Wampler Chemical Corporation of Harrisonburg, Virginia. Wampler (now known as Gemini Coatings of Virginia) has enhanced sales offerings and improved distribution to eastern customers.
On January 1, 1998, Gemini purchased Master’s Magic Products, Inc., located in Perry, TX. Master’s Magic was a family owned business with many years’ experience in hands-on restoration. In June of 1999, Master’s Magic moved the operation to El Reno, Oklahoma. In July of 2000, MMP was merged with Gemini Coatings and currently manufactures and markets Gemini’s touchup and repair products.
In May of 1998, Gemini Trucking was established, which enabled the company to deliver our products with efficiency and established a stronger bond with our customers. As of 2007, a fleet of eight trucks delivers Gemini products throughout the United States.
In April of 2000, Gemini purchased Wood Finishers’ Supply (WFS) in Atlanta, Georgia. WFS specializes in serving the cabinet and millwork trade by providing finishing products, sundries, and equipment. As Gemini grows, more WFS locations will be added to key markets across the country.
In April of 2003, the President/CEO at that time, Michael Smith (the son of the original founder of the company, Bill Smith) decided to sell his majority stock ownership to the employees. Mr. Smith was instrumental in creating the unique “employee-ownership” and open-book management style culture at Gemini and it was at this point that he decided to pursue outside opportunities and put the employee-owned company to the real test! Today, Gemini stock is 100% employee-owned.
It has been the people of Gemini who have made the company successful. Gemini is changing and growing every day because of the contributions of the people who are Gemini. If our history is an indication of what the future may hold, Gemini people can anticipate an exciting and prosperous road ahead.
421 S.E. 27th Street
El Reno, Oklahoma 73036
1 (800) 262 5710
1 (405) 262 9310