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J. R. Watkins Medical Company Complex
The J. R. Watkins Headquarters from the southwest
|Location||150 Liberty Street, Winona, Minnesota|
|Area||2.5 acres (1.0 ha)|
|Architect||George W. Maher|
|Architectural style||Prairie School (1911 Administration Building)|
|NRHP reference #||84003940|
|Added to NRHP||December 4, 2004|
Watkins Incorporated is a manufacturer of health remedies, baking products, and other household items. The entire catalog includes 400 products. It is based in Winona, Minnesota, United States, which utilizes an Omni channel marketing strategy which includes a national retail sales force which focuses on selling to the retail channel as well as an independent sales force of 25,000 people to distribute its products. This independent sales force sells the products using various methods, including the Internet, person to person, trade shows, party planning, and fund-raising. In order to increase overall awareness for the brand, the company began offering products in national retail outlets such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Kroger and other mass, drug and grocery retail stores in 2005.
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, as it may have limited value for implementation. Health may be defined as the ability to adapt and manage physical, mental and social challenges throughout life.
Baking is a method of cooking food that uses prolonged dry heat, normally in an oven, but can also be done in hot ashes, or on hot stones. The most common baked item is bread but many other types of foods are baked. Heat is gradually transferred "from the surface of cakes, cookies, and breads to their center. As heat travels through, it transforms batters and doughs into baked goods with a firm dry crust and a softer centre". Baking can be combined with grilling to produce a hybrid barbecue variant by using both methods simultaneously, or one after the other. Baking is related to barbecuing because the concept of the masonry oven is similar to that of a smoke pit.
Winona is a city in and the county seat of Winona County, in the state of Minnesota. Located in picturesque bluff country on the Mississippi River, its most noticeable physical landmark is Sugar Loaf. The city is named after legendary figure Winona, said to have been the first-born daughter of Chief Wapasha (Wabasha) III. The population was 27,592 at the 2010 census.
The company was founded by J.R. Watkins in Plainview, Minnesota, who began selling liniment in 1868 door-to-door in the southeastern part of the state. A year after J.R. Watkins began selling liniment, he introduced the trial-mark bottle. Molded into the glass bottle, about one-third of the way down, was a mark which showed how much of the product a customer could use and still get a refund. A label with the statement, “If not fully satisfied, your money cheerfully refunded,” also appeared on the bottle. The Watkins trial-mark is believed to be the first money-back guarantee in America.
Joseph Ray Watkins was an American entrepreneur and founder of Watkins Incorporated with his homemade medical products – liniment, extracts, and salves. He offered the United States's first money back guarantee for his products and is credited as the founder of the direct sales industry.
Plainview is a city in Wabasha County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 3,340 at the 2010 census. The author Jon Hassler was raised in Plainview and some of the places in his writing are based on the town.
Liniment, or embrocation, is a medicated topical preparation for application to the skin. Sometimes called balms or heat rubs, liniments are of a similar or greater viscosity than lotions and are rubbed in to create friction, unlike lotions, ointments or creams, but patches, sticks and sprays are also available.
The company moved to Winona in 1885 and added a number of products to its lineup. Baking materials including pepper and vanilla extract were added in 1895 along with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, peppermint extract and lemon extract. J. R. Watkins died in 1911.
Piper nigrum is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning, known as a peppercorn. When fresh and fully mature, it is about 5 mm (0.20 in) in diameter and dark red, and contains a single seed, like all drupes. Peppercorns and the ground pepper derived from them may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper, green pepper, and white pepper.
Vanilla extract is a solution made by macerating and percolating vanilla pods in a solution of ethanol and water. It is considered an essential ingredient in many Western desserts, especially baked goods like cakes, cookies, brownies, and cupcakes, as well as custards, ice creams, and puddings. Although its primary flavor compound is vanillin, pure vanilla extract contains several hundred additional flavor compounds, which are responsible for its complex, deep flavor. By contrast, artificial vanilla flavor is solely made up of artificially-derived vanillin, which is frequently made from a by-product of the wood pulp industry. Because of the way that vanilla extract is made, there is no possible way for it to be colorless or clear. Therefore, any "clear vanilla" flavoring is artificial.
By the 1940s, Watkins was the largest direct-sales company in the world, but soon began to decline. The demographics and buying habits of the United States had major shifts in the following decades, and the company did not keep pace. Watkins filed for bankruptcy protection in the 1970s, and was purchased by Minneapolis investor Irwin L. Jacobs in 1978.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Irwin L Jacobs is an entrepreneur and the CEO of several large corporations, formerly including the now-bankrupt Genmar Holdings, which at one time was billed as the world's largest boat-building company. He earned the nickname "Irv the Liquidator" for his aggressive business practices in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1973, Jacobs founded COMB, a catalog-based mail-order retailer. In 1986, COMB and several cable television operators created the Cable Value Network (CVN), a pioneering television shopping channel which was later purchased by Joseph Segel's QVC. Jacobs, based in Minneapolis, became wealthy by taking big stakes in Fortune 500 conglomerates, usually with the goal of unlocking value by breaking them up.
In 1996, Jacobs' son, Mark Evan Jacobs, began to take over day-to-day operations of the company. He was 14 at the time his father purchased the company, and had worked as a Watkins salesman for many years. The younger Jacobs was an aspiring actor, appearing in minor roles in films like Biloxi Blues and Goodfellas , but he realized that his acting career wasn't advancing. Since taking over the reins, he has controlled spending, introducing an enhanced compensation plan for sales associates, along with an extensive brand study that led to the introduction of products onto store shelves for the first time.
An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.
Biloxi Blues is a semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon. It portrays the conflict of Sergeant Merwin J. Toomey and Arnold Epstein, one of many privates enlisted in the military stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, seen through the eyes of Eugene Jerome, one of the other soldiers. This play is the second chapter in what is known as his Eugene trilogy, following Brighton Beach Memoirs and preceding Broadway Bound, and is the only one in which Eugene is not the central character. The play won the Tony Award for Best Play, and Barry Miller won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance as Arnold Epstein.
Goodfellas is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is an adaptation of the 1985 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. The film narrates the rise and fall of mob associate Henry Hill and his friends and family from 1955 to 1980.
Wal-Mart has carried Watkins products since 2003 other stores nationwide, including Cub Foods, Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Giant, Stop & Shop, Wakefern, Hannaford, Whole Foods, Pick 'N Save, Schnucks, Hy-Vee, New Seasons Market food stores, Harris Teeter, Target, Menards, Home Depot and others are carrying select items, including spices and extracts as well as some personal care items, liquid hand soaps, home cleaning and the original remedies from the company's beginning. The reception from the retail community has been strong. A new all-natural line of personal care products were introduced to the retail community in the spring of 2008 and has quickly gained market share against Burt's Bees and others. A home cleaning line that is all-natural debuted at Target and rolled out nationally in the 2nd half of 2008 and is now sold throughout the country.
Cub is a supermarket chain with 77 stores in Minnesota and Illinois. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of SuperValu Inc., based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The store was famous for being "no frills; bag your own groceries...."
Rite Aid Corporation is a drugstore chain in the United States. The company ranked No. 94 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. It is headquartered in Camp Hill, East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg. Rite Aid is the largest drugstore chain on the East Coast and the third largest in the U.S.
Walgreen Company or simply Walgreens is an American company that operates as the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the United States behind CVS Health. It specializes in filling prescriptions, health and wellness products, health information, and photo services. As of August 31, 2018, the company operated 9,560 stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1901. The Walgreens headquarters office is in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois.
The seven-building Watkins headquarters in Winona is on the National Register of Historic Places as the J.R. Watkins Medical Company Complex. It was listed in 2004 for having national significance in the themes of architecture, commerce, and industry.It was nominated for being the longtime headquarters of the nation's largest direct sales company in the early 20th century, and for the Prairie School design of its 1911 Administration Building by architect George W. Maher. The front entrance includes a window designed by stained-glass artist Louis J. Millet depicting Sugar Loaf, a local landmark.
In 2002, the story of a Watkins salesman, Bill Porter, was dramatized in the TNT movie Door to Door . Porter had a 50-year career with Watkins in Portland, Oregon, and he worked a route despite suffering from cerebral palsy.
Watkins set a Guinness World Record in September 2018 for “Greatest number of layers in a layer cake.” The cake that achieved the record was a Lady Baltimore cake totally 260 layers and broke the previous record by 30 layers. It stood 6 feet and 1 inch tall. Ingredients included 900 eggs, 480 pounds of sugar, 150 pounds of flour, 102 pounds of shortening, 45 pounds of butter, 32 pounds of oil, 45 pounds of milk, 30 pounds water, 2.5 pounds salt, and 7 pounds of Watkins All Natural Baking Vanilla Extract. Watkins commissioned Wuollet Bakery in Minneapolis to bake the cake, and the record breaking event took place at the Watkins headquarters during company’s 150th anniversary celebration.
Snake oil is a traditional Chinese medicament utilizing fat extracted from the Chinese water snake . It is a rubefacient and/or ointment, and is applied topically to relieve minor physical pain. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries, and is a relatively common medication prescribed by doctors ascribing the practice of traditional Chinese medicine. Its effectiveness as medicine has been a historical source of controversy in the Western world, where there is much confusion over its origin and constitution due to a U.S. District Court judgment against Clark Stanley.
Cake is a form of sweet dessert that is typically baked. In their oldest forms, cakes were modifications of breads, but cakes now cover a wide range of preparations that can be simple or elaborate, and that share features with other desserts such as pastries, meringues, custards, and pies.
A muffin is an individual-sized, baked product. It can refer to two distinct items, a part-raised flatbread and a cupcake-like quickbread. The flatbread is of British or European derivation, and dates from at least the early 18th century, while the quickbread originated in North America during the 19th century. Both are common worldwide today.
A bakery is an establishment that produces and sells flour-based food baked in an oven such as bread, cookies, cakes, pastries, and pies. Some retail bakeries are also cafés, serving coffee and tea to customers who wish to consume the baked goods on the premises.
Drake's Cakes is a brand of American baked goods. The company was founded by Newman E. Drake in 1896 in Harlem, New York as The N.E. Drake Baking Company, but it is now owned by McKee Foods. The company makes snack cake products such as Devil Dogs, Funny Bones, Coffee Cakes, Ring Dings, and Yodels. Drake's has traditionally been marketed primarily in the Northeastern U.S., but it expanded to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. regions in 2016. The products are made under the Orthodox Union Kosher Certification guidelines.
Gooey butter cake is a type of cake traditionally made in the American Midwest city of St. Louis. Gooey butter cake is a flat and dense cake made with wheat cake flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, typically near an inch tall, and dusted with powdered sugar. While sweet and rich, it is somewhat firm, and is able to be cut into pieces similarly to a brownie. Gooey butter cake is generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a formal dessert cake. There are two distinct variants of the gooey butter: a bakers' gooey butter and a cream cheese and commercial yellow cake mix variant. It is believed to have originated in the 1930s.
A cupcake is a small cake designed to serve one person, which may be baked in a small thin paper or aluminum cup. As with larger cakes, icing and other cake decorations such as fruit and candy may be applied.
German chocolate cake, originally German's chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake from the United States filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German, who developed a formulation of dark baking chocolate that came to be used in the cake recipe. Sweet baking chocolate is traditionally used for the chocolate flavor in the actual cake, but few recipes call for it today. The filling and/or topping is a custard made with egg yolks and evaporated milk; once the custard is cooked, coconut and pecans are stirred in. Occasionally, a chocolate frosting is spread on the sides of the cake and piped around the circumference of the layers to hold in the filling. Maraschino cherries are occasionally added as a garnish.
Scott Livengood is the owner and chief executive officer of Dewey’s Bakery, Inc., which was founded in 1930 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company owns two brands, Salem Baking Company (SBC) and Dewey's Bakery. Salem Baking Company is a specialty cookie and cracker brand and a private brand manufacturer. Dewey's Bakery is a retail bakery located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, operating a high volume production/retail location and a satellite store. Dewey's Bakery specializes in traditional iced and fondant layers cakes, sheet cakes, cupcakes, cake squares, cake pops, cheesecakes, "cookie cakes", "brownie cakes", and "ice cream cakes and pies".
Tastykake is a line of snack foods manufactured by the Tasty Baking Company, currently headquartered at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Established in 1914 by Philip J. Baur and Herbert T. Morris and originally selling its product only in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, the company now distributes its products in several states on the East Coast, south to Florida, and has been gradually expanding across the United States.
Brach's Confections is a candy and sweets company headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. In November 1980, Brach's Confections was sold to Bertram Johnson and then in 2012, it merged with the Ferrara Pan Candy Company to form the Ferrara Candy Company. It is known as "America's Candy Maker" to pay tribute to their long tradition of making and selling candies in the United States since 1904.
Alliance Boots GmbH was a multinational pharmacy-led health and beauty group with corporate headquarters in Bern, Switzerland and operational headquarters in Nottingham and Weybridge, United Kingdom.
Baker's Chocolate is a brand name for the line of baking chocolates owned by the Mondelez International. Products include a variety of bulk chocolates, including white and unsweetened, and sweetened coconut flakes. It is one of the largest national brands of chocolate in the United States. The company was originally named Walter Baker & Company.
CST Brands, Inc. was an American publicly traded fuel and convenience retailer. It was the second-largest of its kind in North America, with 1,900 outlets in the U.S. and Canada. CST Brands had 2013 revenues of about $12.8 billion and made approximately $360 million in EBITDA. Stores were concentrated in the central and southwestern U.S. states and in eastern Canada. Corner Store was the firm's primary retail brand in the US and in Canada's English speaking provinces. In Canada's French speaking provinces, Dépanneur du Coin is the company's retail brand. In addition to convenience store retail sales, CST Brands also sold fuel under a number of licensed energy brands such as Valero, Exxon, Shell, and Phillips 66.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. is an American holding company headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, that owns Walgreens, Boots, and a number of pharmaceutical manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution companies. The company was formed on December 31, 2014, after Walgreens purchased the 55% stake in UK and Switzerland-based Alliance Boots that it did not already own. The total price of the acquisition was $4.9 billion in cash and 144.3 million common shares with fair value of $10.7 billion. Walgreens had previously purchased 45% of the company for $4.0 billion and 83.4 million common shares in August 2012 with an option to purchase the remaining shares within three years. Walgreens became a subsidiary of the newly created company after the transactions were completed.
DecoPac, Inc. is a supplier and marketer of cake decorating products headquartered in Anoka, Minnesota. DecoPac supplies bakeries, professional cake decorators and cake decorating enthusiasts across the United States, Canada, and Europe. The company was formed in 1982 as an internal supplier of cake decorations for McGlynn's Bakery stores.
The Watkins Manor House is a historic mansion in Winona, Minnesota, United States. It was built from 1924 to 1927 for Paul Watkins (1865–1931), second-generation leader of the J.R. Watkins Company and progenitor of its famous door-to-door sales strategy. It was designed in the Jacobethan style by architect Ralph Adams Cram. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 as the Paul Watkins House for having local significance in the themes of architecture and commerce. It was nominated for its associations with Paul Watkins and the Watkins Company, and for its architecture, being a rare and unaltered example of a house designed by an architect better known for his churches and institutional buildings.
The Michaels Companies, Inc. is North America's largest provider of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall décor, and merchandise for makers and do-it-yourself home decorators. The company owns and operates more than 1,250 Michaels stores, Aaron Brothers Custom Framing store-within-a-store, Artistree, a manufacturer of high quality custom and specialty framing merchandise; and Darice, a wholesale distributor to the craft, gift and décor industry.