Abbott Paint & Carpet celebrate 75 years serving the Twin Cities

“Tradition is like a bow. The more we stretch the bowstring, the farther we can throw the arrows of modernity and innovation.”

— Giovanni Ferrero, third-generation CEO of Italian chocolate maker Ferrero International SA


A brief background on APC: In 1945, young Saint Paul business pioneer Howard (Mike) Abbott established Abbott Paint Company. Started as an offshoot of a family paint contracting business, Abbott Paint began as a need for Mike’s father to purchase paint and supplies. Mike’s father owned a paint contracting company in Saint Paul and needed a place to purchase and warehouse paint for his business. In stepped Mike to fill the void by opening a paint store for his dad on Marshall Ave. He would open the store early in the morning, head to class at the University of St. Thomas, and come back to the store when he was done with school. As the needs of the community grew, so did Abbott Paint. Carpet, flooring, and other decorating options were added, which is what you know of Abbott Paint and Carpet today. With growth comes change, and the store moved to its current location on Grand Avenue. While leaving behind the “corner” paint store, they didn’t leave the neighborhood behind. Solidly grounded in Saint Paul at the corner of Grand and Fairview, Abbott has remained within the family. The strength of their expertise carried past Saint Paul city proper and expanded to White Bear Lake and Stillwater.

Mike Abbott of Abbott Paint & Carpet

Founder, Howard ‘Mike’ Abbott, of Abbott Paint & Carpet

This year, 2020, we are celebrating our 75th year in business. 75 years is a long time, even longer when you’re working with family, but we believe the genuine love we have for one another translates to each and every customer that walks through our doors. Mike’s four sons, Kevin, Steve, Dave and Tim now run and manage the day to day operations of the three locations, and a few of the grandchildren have also stepped in to learn and help the business evolve. .

Kevin, Steve, Dave and Tim AKA The Abbott Paint Boys

That’s where I come in, my name is Kelsey, I am the granddaughter of Mike. The store has always meant something to me, I grew up a couple blocks from my cousins, and about a mile from the St. Paul store. Our entire life has included weekend trips to visit grandpa and our uncles.  Some of my best memories are running through the rows of paint cans and visiting our grandpa up the creaky back stairs in his old office. We spoke often of the store to our friends with pride, and when asked where we were from happily shared that we were part of the Abbott family.

There are endless stories I could tell of coming to visit grandpa at the store, but regardless of the day, you were sure to find him, on the floor helping customers in his paint stained denim apron with about a dozen pens and a hanky in the pocket. He smelled strongly of after shave and walked with an impressive shuffle. He knew everyone, and if it was your first time in the store, he acted as if he had known you his whole life. Right up to a few months before his passing, Grandpa was still in the store. Even with the assistance of a walker in his last couple of years, Grandpa kept the spirit alive with his humor, his infectious laugh, and his dedication to work. He could mix a can of paint by hand with impressive speed, basically blindfolded and had a knack for solving the toughest of color problems. We miss him every day, but his legacy lives on.


The world of retail is tough, as many of you on the avenue know, and I often wonder what my grandpa would think of the world we’re living in today. COVID has affected us all, and operations have changed. We’re committed, now more than ever, to the health and safety of our staff and friends. Making appropriate changes to the business to service our community in new and safer way.

Here are some new practices that can be utilized today:

  • Make an appointment and have a virtual design consultation with one of our on-staff designers virtually.
  • Curbside pick-up options available 7 days a week.
  • 1:1 design consultations by appointment in store
  • Design consultations in-home (wearing masks and following all safety procedures)

 We’re grateful we’re still here, working and serving our communities for the past 75 years. Thank you to all who have supported us and continue to do so. 2020 has brought some big changes, but we’re excited to see where they will take us. Please write us via our website, send thoughts, comments or concerns. Send us stories of Mike or your experience in the store. As we take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been, it’s nice to know who has been there with us.

Thank you, Saint Paul, thank you Grand Ave, and thank you to all of you. We are endlessly grateful.

– The Abbotts