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 No.||84003940|
|Added to NRHP||December 4, 2004|
Watkins Incorporated is a manufacturer of health remedies, baking products, and other household items. 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.
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.
The company moved to Winona in 1885and 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. Between 1889 and 1914, Watkins constructed six manufacturing buildings behind the Winona Administration Building. J.R. Watkins died in 1911. In 1914, a prominent ten-story building completed the look of the Administration Building. Maher’s Administration Building included a 70-foot high rotunda dome coated in 24-carat gold leaf, a blue Bedford stone façade, 224 stain-glass skylights and three custom-made Tiffany stained glass windows.
During World War II, Watkins devoted 90 percent of its production capacity to support the Allied war effort. To fill government contracts, Watkins produced dried eggs, powdered juice packets, vitamin tablets, hospital germicide, DDT and insecticide powder in support of the war effort.
During 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.
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.
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 2002 Emmy award-winning TNT movie Door to Door . Porter had a 50-year career with Watkins in Portland, Oregon, and he worked a route despite having cerebral palsy. Porter was also featured in news stories.
In 2017, The Watkins Company sold the home care, personal care and over-the-counter remedies product lines to Swander Pace Capital. The newly formed sister company, J.R. Watkins Brands, focuses solely on home care, personal care and over-the-counter remedies.
in September 2018, Watkins set a Guinness World Record 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 the company's 150th anniversary celebration.
Cake is a form of sweet food made from flour, sugar, and other ingredients, that is usually baked. In their oldest forms, cakes were modifications of bread, 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.
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 total population of the city was 27,592 at the time of the 2010 census.
Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent, a mixture of a carbonate or bicarbonate and a weak acid. The base and acid are prevented from reacting prematurely by the inclusion of a buffer such as cornstarch. Baking powder is used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods. It works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough through an acid-base reaction, causing bubbles in the wet mixture to expand and thus leavening the mixture. The first single-acting baking powder was developed by a Birmingham based food manufacturer Alfred Bird in England in 1843. The first double-acting baking powder was developed by Eben Norton Horsford in the United States of America in the 1860s.
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.
Potassium bitartrate, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, with formula KC4H5O6, is a byproduct of winemaking. In cooking it is known as cream of tartar. It is processed from the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid (a carboxylic acid). The resulting powdery acid can be used in baking or as a cleaning solution (when mixed with an acidic solution such as lemon juice or white vinegar).
The Pillsbury Company was a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company that was one of the world's largest producers of grain and other foodstuffs until it was bought by General Mills in 2001. Antitrust law required General Mills to sell off some of the products, so the company kept the rights to refrigerated and frozen Pillsbury branded products, while dry baking products and frosting were sold by its Orrville, Ohio–based Smucker company under license. Brynwood Partners agreed to purchase Pillsbury from Smuckers for $375 million in July 2018. In September 2018 the sale was completed along with other brands including Martha White and Hungry Jack.
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.
Tastykake is a line of snack foods manufactured by the Tasty Baking Company, currently headquartered at the Philadelphia Navy Yard 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.
The Pabst Brewing Company is an American company that dates its origins to a brewing company founded in 1844 by Jacob Best and was, by 1889, named after Frederick Pabst. It is currently a holding company which contracts the brewing of over two dozen brands of beer and malt liquor: these include its own flagship Pabst Blue Ribbon, as well as brands from now defunct breweries including P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Company, G. Heileman Brewing Company, Lone Star Brewing Company, Pearl Brewing Company, Piels Bros., Valentin Blatz Brewing Company, National Brewing Company, Olympia Brewing Company, Falstaff Brewing Corporation, Primo Brewing & Malting Company, Rainier Brewing Company, F & M Schaefer Brewing Company, Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company and Stroh Brewery Company. About half of the beer produced under Pabst's ownership is Pabst Blue Ribbon brand, with the other half their other owned brands.
Grain Belt is a brand of beer brewed in the American state of Minnesota, by the August Schell Brewing Company. The beer has been produced in a number of varieties. Grain Belt Golden was the original style introduced in 1893. The current offerings are: Grain Belt Premium, first introduced in 1947; Grain Belt Premium Light; Grain Belt Nordeast, introduced on April 7, 2010; and the newest offering, Grain Belt Lock & Dam, introduced in 2016. It was originally produced by the Minneapolis Brewing Company which formed with the merger of four smaller brewers in 1891. Soon after introduction, Grain Belt became the company's flagship product. It was brewed at the original Grain Belt brewery in Minneapolis, Minnesota until 1976. A series of other owners followed, and Schell took over the product line in 2002.
Merchants National Bank is a bank building in Winona, Minnesota, United States, designed in the Prairie School architectural style. It was built in 1912 and features elaborate terracotta and stained-glass ornamentation. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 for having state-level significance in the themes of architecture and commerce. It was nominated for being the "largest and probably best example" of the 18 Midwestern banks designed by Purcell, Feick & Elmslie, a significant influence on early-20th-century American architecture. It is also a contributing property to the Winona Commercial Historic District.
Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, Inc is a North American stained glass firm located in Winona, Minnesota that specializes in the design, fabrication, preservation and restoration of leaded stained glass and faceted glass windows. The studio, one of the oldest in North America, was formed through the merger of two American stained glass studios: the Willet Stained Glass Studios of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Hauser Art Glass Company, Inc., located in Winona, Minnesota. The two united in 1977 and together are one of the largest stained glass studios in North America. In 2005 the company changed its name to Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, Inc., to more accurately reflect the long-term direction of the studio. On January 9, 2014, the Arizona-based national stained glass studio Associated Crafts® acquired Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, Inc.. To date, Willet Hauser has created and/or restored windows in over 15,000 buildings located throughout the world.. During August 2018, Inc. Magazine named Associated Crafts/Willet Hauser Architectural Glass Inc. to its 37th annual Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Winona County, Minnesota. It is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Winona County, Minnesota, United States. The locations of National Register properties and districts for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below, may be seen in an online map.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to chocolate:
Pickwick is an unincorporated community in Homer Township, Winona County, Minnesota, United States.
Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro Jr. is an American baker and reality television personality of Italian heritage. He is the owner of Carlo's Bakery, as well as the face of Buddy V's Ristorante. Valastro is best known as the star of the reality television series Cake Boss, which premiered in April 2009. He has also starred in Kitchen Boss (2011), Next Great Baker (2010), and Buddy's Bakery Rescue (2013).
Winona, Minnesota was founded in 1851 in what was then Minnesota Territory on the site of the Dakota village of Keoxa. It has numerous entries on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
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.