Sequoia Paint Company

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Sequoia Paint Company

Profile appeared in our 32-1 Issue – April 2015

A 16 year old boy from Arkansas, a fifth grade education, and dreams about making it rich may not sound like the most promising start for a great endeavor to some. One could only imagine the sort of trials such a young soul—one whose parents had both passed before he had turned 13—would have to endure, and most would probably expect a bleak outcome. However, when Jim Elder came out to California in 1944, there was nothing that would get in between him and his dreams. These dreams included opening Sequoia Paint Company, a family owned and operated business that has been providing countless locals with quality customer service and products since 1962.

Jim Elder

Jim Elder

“My first job in paint, I was a laborer,” Elder began. “But I had my sights on being a paint chemist in the labs. You know, the guys who would wear the white shirts? They were a different class of people. That’s when I started night school.” In 1956, he obtained his degree to be a paint formulator which would make him responsible for designing and making paints. His hard work and education propelled him into the career of being the technical director of several branches for a paint company in Los Angeles. By the time 1962 rolled around, Elder realized that he was “never going to be a rich man” staying where he was, so he headed up north to Bakersfield.

“When I first came to Bakersfield, I was considered to be a bit of a joke,” he confessed. “The earthquake of 1952 had demolished everything, so when I had gotten here, it had all been built back up and no one could see who would need more paint at that time.” Never the quitter, Elder stood his ground and is proud to say that his business is still thriving decades after his arrival. Part of the formula for such a successful business is quality paint, reasonable rates, and truly caring for your customers. Elder and his team have mastered them all.

If retention is another sign of success, then that’s one more thing that Sequoia Paint Company has covered. Mary Lee has served as secretary and bookkeeper for 45 years; Dorene Rodriguez has been a part of the office staff for 31 years; and in sales, both John Arias and Jason Wynn have been with Sequoia for 20 years while Bruce Barta has worked there for 30 years.

If this, alone, doesn’t stand as a testament to just how valuable a company this is, then perhaps the product will. “I have never made a second grade of paint,” Elder said. I want to make something that will last. If you have a good surface, then good paint should last about fifty years.” Clearly, making good things last is just one of the many things that he does well.

Additionally, unlike some of the big box stores around town, Sequoia Paint Company can provide expedited assistance, no matter what the size of the order may be. A perfect blend of superb customer service and a highly trained team ensure that each and every customer is cared for. Whether it is a large industrial job or the need for a few gallons, Elder and his team of hardworking professionals can meet the necessary demands.

Much like a good coat of paint, when the components are right, the results are long-lasting. Sequoia Paint Company is an example of how a few key ingredients, like commitment to quality and superior service, can be the building blocks for a dream come true. Without a thought to retiring, Elder aims at continuing this success for years to come.


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