It was a whirlwind of a trip, but so worth the journey. J.R. Watkins Naturals invited me, along with 4 other bloggers, to visit their breathtaking headquarters located in Winona, Minnesota. Midwesterners are often viewed as friendlier than your average American and the employees of J.R. Watkins proved this to be true with their endearing Midwestern accents and gracious hospitality.
J.R. Watkins has been America’s pioneer in natural living-they’ve been around since 1868! The company’s line of personal care products is one of very few lines to be certified by the Natural Products Association.
Our day kicked off with a tour of the J.R. Watkins factory led by John, an extremely knowledgeable archivist, who works for J.R. Watkins Naturals. During the tour we were able to watch a few of the production lines in action. It was fascinating to see how the products are packaged, sorted and sealed.
After the tour we sat down with the company’s President, Mark Jacobs and J.R. Rigley the VP of Sales and Marketing, along with several other J.R. Watkins team members. This was one of the highlights of the trip. We were able to speak candidly with the company about ingredients in their products and what it really meant to be “all natural”. I walked out of the meeting feeling very impressed by their openness and dedication to creating a true standard for all natural products. They company is committed to their community and works hard to practice “green” manufacturing.
Another highlight was being invited into the company’s test kitchen for an introduction to some new product lines that are being launched. Their baby products should be hitting the shelves just in time for the holidays.
We were treated a bit like royalty and stayed in the Alexander Mansion, run by the fantabulous Richard.
My room was pretty spectacular. It belonged to Mary, the well-loved maid of the Alexander family. My kids would have loved jumping on the bed. I had to resist the urge.
The trip wouldn’t have been what it was (fantastic) without the wonderful people along the way. The employees of J.R. Watkins didn’t make it into any of my photos (how did that happen???), but I can’t say enough good things about them. The five bloggers came together from an eclectic assortment of blogs, and what a great group of women.
J.R Watkins Natural’s products are sold in quite a few retail shops. I recently spotted them at my local Whole Foods Market.
Have you spotted J.R. Watkins Naturals products?
[Photo of Watkins building, sign and production line courtesy of JodiGrundig/Flickr]
Disclosure: I was provided travel, lodging and J.R. Watkins products as part of this Behind The Scenes Tour at J.R. Watkins Headquarters. The opinions are my very own.