Watkins original Gold Medal
I headed to Rochester for the annual Mache conference (MN Association of Christian Home Educators). Looking forward to attending Friday and Saturday....but I made a side trip on the way...going about 45 minutes past Rochester to Winona, home of the Watkins headquarters. I was priviledged go have a personal tour of the offices, the manufacturing plant, and the museum. Wow! It really was incredible. JR Watkins bought the land and built the original building in 1911 for what was then $3.5 million, sparing no expense. There are beautiful stained glass windows, marble all over, and they had state of the art technology all over. Watkins was one of the first companies ever to use computers, to have high end office equipment, etc. And yet, while JR spared no expense, he was also cost conscious, and the company continues to be. Last year, they upgraded the extract equipment -- what they use to bottle and label the extracts -- the line can now do 90,000 bottles each day....up from the 30,000 it used to do....on the equipment that was replaced...originally installed in 1942!