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About Watkins Incorporated

Watkins has a nose for natural personal care products. Through its apothecary, natural home care, and gourmet divisions, the company makes and markets more than 400 natural products. Its portfolio of products includes body lotions and bath salts and organic dish soaps and bathroom cleaners, as well as organic black pepper and vanilla extracts. Watkins distributes its items in the US, Canada, the UK, and the Philippines. The natural products developer and marketer sells its products through retailers the likes of Target, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods, as well as through its website. The company has been owned by chairman Irwin L. Jacobs since 1978.


The company's known for its wide variety of health remedies, baking products, and other household items, which include hand soaps, dish soaps, all-purpose cleaners, window cleaners, baking and cooking staples, and cookbooks. Altogether, it boasts more than 400 products in its portfolio.

Geographic Reach

Watkins, which sells its products worldwide, maintains a headquarters office and manufacturing and distribution facilities in Minnesota. It distributes its products in the US (including in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands), Canada, the UK, and the Philippines and has branch offices in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK.

Sales and Marketing

Watkins relies on several companies, such as specialty retailers, pharmacies, grocery stores, health food stores, drug stores, and gift shops, to get its products in the hands of consumers. Typical retail partners include Fred Meyer, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Canadian Tire, Costco, CVS, Loblaws, Safeway, Stop N Shop, Target, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods.


The company continues to focus on its core products. Watkins still sells its first product -- Original Liniment -- which soothes muscle aches. To build on its expertise in making spices, soaps, and perfumes, Watkins in recent years has expanded its products portfolio.

To provide its customers with a healthier alternative to iodized salt, the company sells a coarse sea salt grinder. It also serves the natural home cleaning products market with its J.R. Watkins Natural Home Care line, named after the founder of the company. This is a key product niche as the company chases after an increased share in the more lucrative natural cleaners market.

Company Background

Owned by chairman Irwin L. Jacobs since 1978, Watkins' roots go way back to the 1860s.

The company's early success came from manufacturing spices and natural medicinal products, such as salves, soaps, and perfumes.

Watkins Incorporated

Winona, MN 55987-3707
Phone: 1 (507) 457-3300


Employer Type: Privately Owned
COO and CFO: Michelle Fehr
CEO: Mark E. Jacobs
President and Chief Marketing Officer: J. R. Rigley
Employees (This Location): 220
Employees (All Locations): 260

Major Office Locations

Winona, MN

Other Locations

Alexis, IL
Grand Rapids, MI
Winona, MN
Draper, UT
Winnipeg, Canada