New owner buys long-time Rochester plumbing supply firm
A Fargo, N.D. company is buying Woodruff Co., a 67-year-old Rochester plumbing and utilities wholesale supply firm.
Dakota Supply Group and the family-owned Woodruff have a purchase agreement and the sale is expected to close on April 30, according to Dakota CEO Todd Kumm. The deal includes Woodruff's Rochester complex at 1524 Third Ave. S.E. as well its Austin and Winona locations.
Dakota is a distributor of plumbing, electrical, HVAC, refrigeration, communications, filtration and metering systems. It has locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Montana
Co-owner John W. Woodruff said the main reason for the sale is that he's retiring, along with his brother and co-owner James W. Woodruff. They took over the company from their father, who co-founded it.
"It's a good opportunity," he said.
The much-larger Dakota had previously approached the Woodruffs a few years ago, but the deal didn't come together back then.
"Now it's the right time to do it," said John Woodruff.
On the other side of the sale, Dakota agrees that the timing is right for this change.
"We believe a lot in the potential of Rochester and what's going to happen in the future," said Dakota's Kumm."This gives us a great physical location in a community that we feel is growing and expanding."
The company already has locations in La Crosse, Wis. and St. Paul, so this acquisition will fill in the area in between. Dakota, which has about 650 employees, is very familiar with Rochester, has previously sold metering systems to the city.
One concern the brothers had was to make sure the deal would be good for their more than 20 employees. DSG's reputation as a good company made it attractive. It's also owned by its employees through a stock ownership plan.
"We think that will be a benefit for the employees," he said.
Woodruff was founded by 1946 by James F. Woodruff, John D. Flowell and Frank C. Weber. The Woodruff family has long been very active in the community with involvement with Lourdes Catholic schools, Rotary Club and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.
It built and moved into its current facility on Third Avenue in April 1964.