Kelly-Moore closes; site to become biotech campus

Paint cans slide along a production line at Kelly-Moore. Photo from the Kelly-Moore website.

Kelly-Moore Paints, founded in 1946 in San Carlos, abruptly announced its shutdown Friday, and its offices and factory are destined to become a biotech campus.

The company said it would “immediately” stop operations and wind down the business.

All stores and the company’s manufacturing plant will all be closed “effective immediately.”

Kelly-Moore had been based in San Carlos until last year, when it moved its headquarters to Irving, Texas. It had moved its manufacturing operations to Texas in 2017.

Plans are in the works to turn the Kelly-Moore site into a campus catering to biotech companies.

After leaving its Peninsula headquarters, Kelly-Moore stores remained in San Carlos, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, San Mateo and Sunnyvale.

The company was bought in 2022 by the Flacks Group, a Miami-based investment firm.
Last week, the paint company furloughed about 700 employees and stop making paint, according to the company’s statement. Kelly-Moore was looking for more cash to turn itself around, but no investors stepped forward.

“Our owners took on significant financial risks in the acquisition last year,” CEO Charles Gassenheimer said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, despite their extraordinary efforts after acquiring this distressed business, they simply couldn’t overcome the unexpectedly large challenges, and will be exiting the business.”

Among those challenges included “thousands of asbestos litigation claims,” that the company has been hit with for over 30 years. The company has paid out about $600 million over the past 20 years to settle asbestos claims but expects to have to pay out over $170 million more in future asbestos liabilities, according to Kelly-Moore’s statement.

Kelly-Moore was founded by William Kelly and William Moore in San Carlos. Kelly had been Moore’s old boss at Glidden. Moore bought out Kelly in 1952.

Moore retired in 1984 but remained a chairman of the board until he died in 2019, according to his obituary.

The former Kelly-Moore headquarters at 987 Industrial Road is slated to be part of a large 25-acre biotech campus proposed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a developer.


  1. @Andrew, excellent comment about Berman who caves to all the big-money interests. There’s a reason they call the Builders Remedy “Berman’s Remedy”

    Come to the housing Town Hall at Lucie Stern this weekend to hear more about this Sunday at 4PM. And remember to vote in the Assembly Race.

    • Moderator, your Terms of Use prohibit promotional announcements in the comments. It’s also off-topic. I ask that you remove the second part of “JAM’s” comment for violating the TOU.

  2. Sad, family started working there in 1964. Bill Moore was a great boss. Unlike the tobacco industry, I doubt Kelly-Moore knew the asbestos was hazardous when they were making products containing it. Typical Kalifornia bleed um to death laws. Soon, no business will be in the State.

    • I recall reading a Forbes magazine article many years, during the height of class action asbestos litigation, that asbestos – in the forms in which it is normally used in the United States – is one-third as likely to be the cause of death as being struck by lightning.

      Based on what we have learned the past 3-4 years from all the false information and pseudoscience regarding so-called “Covid”, I am highly skeptical of any hysterical claim promoted by the mainstream media and governments. My hunch is the risks of tobacco have been grossly exaggerated and the benefits repressed.

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