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Welding and automation integration company Central McGowan completes its third acquisition of the year

Central McGowan, a supplier of gases and technology for manufacturing the upper Midwest and a Fanuc- and Lincoln-authorized integrator, has completed the acquisition of Preferred Welder Sales in Mankato, Minnesota – bringing its acquisition roster for 2021 to three. 

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

According to Joe Francis, president/CEO, these acquisitions complement Central McGowan’s current business while strengthening its presence in key market areas. All three of these companies were independently operated, highly successful businesses with owners seeking to retire and wanting a way to continue what they each started.

Francis says: “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.”

Next year, Central McGowan will celebrate 75 years in business. This acquisition pace may seem out of character for a more established, traditional company like Central McGowan. However, Francis believes it’s right in line.

Francis says: “I’ve always likened Central McGowan to be more of a startup – agile and opportunistic, with a growth-driven and entrepreneurial mindset. The key is having the right people, tools, technology and talent to seek out and identify opportunities, then effectively integrate and optimize operations at the same time.”

The latest acquisition, Preferred Welder Sales, is located at 20177 State Highway 66, Mankato, Minnesota, 56001. It has served the Mankato area and southern Minnesota since 1987, specializing 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.

Founded in 1940, Fessler Carbonic Gas is a beverage carbonation business located at 2012 East Ovid Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50313. Its customers span all of Iowa, with offerings similar to Central McGowan’s beverage carbonation businesses in St Cloud and St Paul, Minnesota.

It 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, brew pubs, convenience stores, pools, stadiums, casinos, microbreweries and hospitals.

The acquisition more than doubled Central McGowan’s beverage carbonation business, and built upon the 2019 acquisition of its St Paul-based beverage carbonation location (formerly Jasons Beverage Carbonation).

Metro Welding Supply located at 3021 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55418, is a bustling welding distribution store that has served the Minneapolis area with excellence and affordable supplies since 1985. Like Central McGowan, it built its reputation on delivering the highest quality of products for welders and unbeatable customer service.

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

Francis explains: “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.”

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