150 Liberty St.
Winona Minnesota 55987United States
Because of the role this innovative company has played in the Winona's history, a stop at the small, interesting Watkins Museum is a must.
The J.R. Watkins company pioneered direct selling in 1868, when the company began in Plainview, Minnesota, selling liniment. Luckily for Winona, the growing company relocated there in 1885, becoming one of the largest businesses in southeastern Minnesota, a distinction it retains today.The company's origins were in health and wellness products, such as liniments, lotions, creams and salves. Over the years, the company had added an array of products, including automotive accessories, spices, screen paint and cologne. Today, the focus is on natural living, using only natural ingredients in its diverse lines of personal care, home care, remedies and organic flavorings.In the free museum, you can follow a timeline of the company's development on large board displays then browse through cases and cases of its products, new and old. It's hard not to smile when you come upon products such as chocolate-flavored laxative wafers; beef, iron and wine tonic; or toothpaste wax, guaranteed not to spread or run in the mouth. Of course you can also purchase Watkins products while you're there. The cinnamon, by the way, is supposed to be quite good.