Central McGowan has completed the acquisition of Preferred Welder Sales in Mankato, Minnesota, for the US distributor’s third acquisition of 2021.

Source: Central McGowan

The company also acquired Metro Welding Supply in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in April and Fessler Carbonic Gas in Des Moines, Iowa, in March.

With headquarters in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Central McGowan is a diversified independent distributor of industrial, medical and food and beverage gases; welding equipment/technology and supplies; and dry ice.

Joe Francis, President/CEO, said these acquisitions complement Central McGowan’s current business while strengthening its presence in key market areas. All three of companies were independently operated with owners seeking to retire, according to a statement.

Francis said, “We are fortunate to be able to carry on their legacies and to learn from their respective teams as to what made them successful and leverage that across our company.”

Last year, Central McGowan also expanded its carbon dioxide (CO2) business with the acquisition of St. Paul, Minnesota-based Jasons Beverage Carbonation Company.

Next year, Central McGowan will celebrate 75 years in business.

Francis added, “I’ve always likened Central McGowan to be more of a startup - agile and opportunistic, with a growth-driven and entrepreneurial mindset,” Francis said.

“The key is having the right people, tools, technology and talent to seek out and identify opportunities, then effectively integrate and optimise operations at the same time.”

Preferred Welder Sales has served the Mankato area and southern Minnesota since 1987, specialising in the farm and auto industries as well as servicing and repairing most brands of welding and cutting equipment. The business includes a traveling trailer and roadshow that goes cross country, selling equipment at farm shows, trade shows, and county and state fairs.

Fessler Carbonic Gas - founded in 1940 - is a beverage carbonation business with customers all over Iowa. It has offerings similar to Central McGowan’s beverage carbonation businesses in St. Cloud and St. Paul.

Fessler Carbonic Gas delivers high-pressure cylinders of carbonic and nitrogen gases and beverage gas equipment; does on-site refills of CO2 via bulk tankers; and installs and maintains beverage equipment for restaurants, bars, convenience stores, stadiums, microbreweries and more. The acquisition more than doubled Central McGowan’s beverage carbonation business, and built upon the 2019 acquisition of its St. Paul, Minnesota-based Jasons Beverage Carbonation Company.

Metro Welding Supply is a bustling welding distribution store that has served the Minneapolis area since 1985.

Combined, these acquisitions have grown Central McGowan’s footprint and customer base, and expanded its employee roster to over 130.

Francis says the company’s intent is to preserve what made each business successful, focusing especially on the people and processes while integrating operations to improve efficiency and customer supply and service.

He added, “In all cases, we’ve been able to keep former owners on board for a period of time to help with the transition, which is imperative. This gives us immediate insight and expertise about each business’ respective customers, so we can ensure we live up to their expectations - all the while making sure we’re maintaining our support and service levels for our existing customers.”