The History of R. Mort Company, Inc.

Our History

 The history of R. Mort Company surrounds itself around the lifelong success of its founder, Richard B. Mort. Born in 1924, Richard grew up during difficult times in America and quickly learned the value of a dollar. The lessons learned from his first job throwing papers for $0.03 each, for which he received 1/8 cent profit per paper, to the years of preparation as an understudy, prepared him for his own journey as a successful businessman and artist.

During the 1930's and 1940's, Richard worked in St. Louis with some of the most famous sign shops in the Midwest. Having mentored under several notable artisans of the day--world famous show card writer Edward Logsdon, world famous sign painter Alfred Becker, and world famous theatrical painter Al White--Richard gained prominence as an accomplished show card writer and sign painter himself.

By 1945, having now gained the experience needed to begin his own business; Richard left his employer and struck out on his own. He started Mort Sign Company by renting a store front at 18th and Park Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri, and converted it into a sign shop. 
After a lot of hard work and long hours, his business began to thrive. He received much praise for his work and soon afterward landed his first major account, Esquire Ice Cream. The Esquire Ice Cream Corporation heard about Mort Sign Company via word of mouth from existing customers. As a result of his excellent work and service, he began supplying the various signage needed for several hundred small confectionaries and drug stores. Such items included their bar menus, sign logos for both interior and exterior applications and many other sign related items. 

Throughout the 1960's Mort Sign Company grew and eventually became incorporated and known as Mort and Associates. Some of the larger accounts acquired during this time were Southwestern Bell Telephone, Monsanto, Beatrice Foods, Dad's Root Beer, and all the Midwest District of A & P Groceries. Even several renowned New York City businesses, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, contacted Mort and Associates for work. 
In addition to the growth experienced during those years, the company also saw many changes take place, the most significant change being Richard's exposure to the automated printing press. Having started his business as a one man operation, painting one-of-a-kind signs by hand; his introduction to the screen-printing press allowed Richard the opportunity to duplicate his work hundreds of times over in a much more efficient manner, thus propelling his business forward. 
By the late 1960's, Mort and Associates had grown to be one of the largest screen-printing companies located in the greater Midwest and had to relocate four times due to space limitations. Having seen his business grow Richard was now ready to enjoy the rewards of his success and "retire". He sold Mort and Associates and "left" the sign industry. 
Richard then relocated to Webb City, a small community in Southwest Missouri, to pursue his other passions: hunting and fishing. However, even after several years of "retirement", the "love" for the sign industry had never left Richard's blood. He eventually started another sign business under the name, R. Mort Company. The company consisted of just Richard and his wife Dolores. Dolores, having experience in sales, worked the accounts while Richard produced the work.

One of the first major accounts for the newly formed R. Mort Company was Walgreens Drugstore chain. 
Dolores had had a full day of rejection in Joplin, Missouri until she stopped at the local Walgreens Drug Store. During that visit, she learned that the store manager needed some special promotional signs for his store and she knew that R. Mort Company could be the answer. Richard stayed up all night making the signs and she delivered them the next morning. The store manager was so pleased with the service, quality and price of the signs that he relayed this information to his District Manager. He too was impressed with the signs and how quickly Richard had responded to the need. The word spread quickly among Walgreens stores on a regional basis and eventually the R. Mort Company began doing work for the Walgreens corporate office and their stores across the nation. 

With the many changes occurring in the point of purchase industry, the advancement of technology and the digital world on the horizon, R. Mort Company decided it needed to branch out into some new fields. The manufacturing industry became a key component in this new direction, as did the car wash service industry. Both of these ventures paid off and R. Mort Company has experienced substantial growth in these two industries. One of our proud accomplishments is the fact that some of our work is currently being used in the space industry.

Another significant area of growth for R. Mort Company has been with the highly regarded John Deere Corporation. Since 1998,we have proudly serviced many of the John Deere dealerships and manufacturing facilities across the USA. Being authorized to print the John Deere Trademark Logo is a privilege we regard very highly. 

It has been over 60 years since that first storefront sign shop in St. Louis, and as one can imagine, the customer base of R. Mort Company, Inc. today has grown significantly. The founder, Richard Mort has tutored and mentored several hundred artists and sign makers throughout those years, many of whom have gone on to become successful businessmen themselves. Under his leadership, R. Mort Company, Inc. has seen profitable growth through the years by focusing on service, quality and price.

Today, Richard Mort, as you can see from his recent fishing trip, is again enjoying the benefits of "retirement" while maintaining the justifiable title as owner and advisor of R. Mort Company, Inc. He is now pursuing his life long quest of bass fishing. For the record, Richard's largest catch to date is 13 lbs 2 oz. caught January 4, 2004 at Lake El Salto, Mexico. 





Copyright © 2008-2013 R. MORT COMPANY, INC. 11053 County Lane 209, Webb City, MO. 64870 | All logos contained within property of respective owners.