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Formulating for the Future

Our Story

Deco-Chem began with an American dream. A dream commonly shared by many people in this great land. It started with a family — moving from Kansas City, Missouri, to Mishawaka, Indiana in the Fall of 1972. Dwight Davis, accompanied by his step-son, Troy Esposito, and his sheltie, Chamois, rented a truck to carry all of his worldly belongings and began his journey toward a new destination. His wife, Carol, and their new baby, Brent, had previously flown to the area and awaited his arrival.

After the Davis family settled into a new home, Dwight set his sights toward building his business. Using his knowledge and passion for coatings, he launched into a six month formula-development phase that included the acquisition of a small lab mill, a small production mill, mixers, and various lab and manufacturing equipment. The humble beginnings in the drafty, old manufacturing plant in downtown Mishawaka, allowed Deco-Chem to start its 47-year journey to supply quality coatings.

Once formulas were tried and true, Dwight set his sights toward looking for customers. Hiring a Notre Dame student to match colors and to answer the phone — should it ring — he set out on sales trips through the Midwest, including Indiana and Ohio, in search of potential customers. He encountered many friendly faces, and to his amazement, he received a few projects on which to work along with some sample orders. With this bit of encouragement, he hired a receptionist so the Notre Dame student could assist him with the projects at hand.

Continued sales trips to his new customers proved fruitful and the Deco-Chem dream began to grow. The core competency of Deco-Chem became specialty products for the metal decorating industry including automotive, appliance, signage and nameplates. Over the next few years, new products were developed for plastics and a variety of other surfaces. In 1978 (the year of the blizzard that many remember), a new 8,000 sq. ft. building was erected in the Mishawaka Futures Industrial Park. A new profit center was added in 1995 in the form of Ultra Violet Curable Flexo Inks and the following year, a five station Mark Andy flexo press was added in a new room built to demonstrate the use of UV curable flexo and rotary screen inks.

As a young boy, Dwight’s son, Brent, matched colors for Deco-Chem by standing on a box in the color lab. From standing on a box to graduating from college in 1992, Brent began full time work for Deco-Chem. In 2010, he became president of the company. Since that time, the building has grown to 21,000 sq. ft.

The years following the turn of the century have seen the expansion of the product mix, including Ultra Violet curable inks for metal and the development of inks for LEDUV curing.

To this day, Deco-Chem values its humble beginnings and the relationship it has developed with its community and its customers. Deco-Chem believes in providing top quality inks and coatings and caring customer support that a small, family-owned business has to offer. After all — it is the American way…built by an American dream.