Monday, December 16, 2013

Watkins Distributing opens new warehouse

Tony Watkins, who with his brother, Mitch, owns Watkins Distributing, which opened a 100,000-square-foot warehouse south of Idaho Falls this past month.
Try to visualize 1.3 million cases of beer, wine, soda pop and bottled water and you'll get an idea of the volume that Watkins Distributing is doing out of its new warehouse on the south side of Idaho Falls.

Co-owners Tony and Mitch Watkins had been in Idaho Falls for more than a decade, operating out of the old B&F warehouse on Iona Road near U.S. Highway 20. The new 100,000-square-foot warehouse near I-15 Exit 113 offers many more advantages.

"Being close to the freeway was very important to us, with the inbound and outbound loads," Tony Watkins said.

Watkins was founded in Havre, Mont., in 1933, right after the repeal of Prohibition. It has warehouses in several location. This newest one, which opened in late November, serves 23 counties, distributing close to 430 different products.

The estimated cost of the warehouse is more than $8 million. Watkins said they don't plan to expand employment right now, but eventually the number of people working there will be between 40 and 45.

The building was built by Ryan Companies US, of Minneapolis, which specializes in tilt-up concrete buildings all over the world. Watkins said more than 80 percent of the work on the building was done by local subcontractors, however, and that the people from Ryan were impressed with the speed and quality of the local work.