Decorators Supply Corp. Carves its Place in History

(L-R) Cousins Steve Grage, Bill Denis and Jack Meingast keep the family business going strong. 

As a major ornamental plaster manufacturer for the Columbian Exhibition of 1893, Decorators Supply Corp. stays in the spotlight with its decorative moldings of all types, including the white buildings and halls.

Decorators Supply Corp. has been a Windy City staple since the “White City” came to town. The company makes classic architectural detailing from plaster and wood, including column capitals, molding, and other ornamental details.

The third-generation company can trace its beginnings back to 1883, blossoming from a carving and guilders business into a cast ornamental plaster manufacturer. Success in the ornamental plaster sector hoisted Decorators Supply into the spotlight as one of the manufacturers of decorative moldings for the buildings and halls of the Columbian Exhibition of 1893. The company drew inspiration from the hundreds of richly talented artists, sculptors, carvers, and craftsmen who visited Chicago that summer, with a legacy still seen in Decorators Supply’s products today.

Four years after the expo, in 1897, William Grage Sr. joined the company as an office boy. Just 17, Grage rose through the company, eventually purchasing it just before World War II. He continued to run the company with his three children until his death in 1978.

Today, Decorators Supply remains a family business that creates all custom, made-to-order pieces. Steve Grage, later joined by cousins Bill Denis and Jack Meingast, has been with the business since the 1971. During his time with Decorators Supply, the company has continued its legacy of traditional design by working with museums, with Disney Imagineering in Orlando, Canada, and Paris on various theaters, and on movie sets for films such as The Untouchables and Whitehouse Down. They are called on when a classic look is needed.

“Classic is the keyword,” Grage said.

Though its design style remains classic, Decorators Supply has developed and streamlined manufacturing and office techniques, something South Central Bank has helped with over the years. Bookkeeper Annette Cataura can make deposits directly from her desk with the remote deposit system and gets answers to operational questions promptly. “I get answers right away,” Cataura said.

“There is more contact working with a smaller, local bank like South Central Bank,” Grage added. “They work the way we like to work, with personal service.

SBA Loans

Few banks know more about connecting your business with capital backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) than South Central Bank. We were one of the first SBA “Preferred Lenders” in Northern Illinois under 7(a), the most popular SBA loan program.

At South Central, we make SBA decisions quickly. We are authorized to approve up to $5 million for a 7(a) SBA loans “in-house,” without prior SBA approval, so there is no delay.

SBA loans suit a variety of transactions when business customers would benefit permanent financing. Permanent financing protects businesses from issues during stressful periods when renewal of short-term funding might be a problem.

That’s because SBA loans can provide more money for a longer period of time than conventional financing. Loans generally range from $100,000 to $5 million. Repayment terms vary by loan use. Working capital loans can be repaid up to seven years. Equipment loans have terms of up to 10 years, while real estate terms can extend to 25 years for business real estate. Visit our website for details.

Contact Bob Ribordy at (312) 491-7118 or Todd Grayson at (312) 491-7114 to see how South Central can make SBA 7(a) loans help your business transform.