ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin



860 West Street





Three proposed resolutions in connection with the decision to locate a Pepsi-Cola canning plant in Watertown will be discussed by the City Council at its committee meeting Monday night.  The session will start at 7 p.m.  The resolutions will be acted upon at Tuesday night’s regular meeting of the council.  It was announced in the Times on July 22 that Wis-Pak, a new corporation set up for the new Wisconsin plant, will be erected in Watertown on a site of approximately 30 acres which the city owns on the West Road.  Two of the resolutions will terminate leases the city has with individuals for the land on which the building is to be constructed and the third authorizes the sale of the property to Wis-Pak, the company which will construct the building.  


09 22      GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY / site dedication

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Directors of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Watertown Association of Commerce Promotive Corporation were present for the site dedication of the Pepsi Cola canning facility


Lieutenant Governor Jack Olson, Donald Knick, chamber of commerce, Andrew McFarland, chamber of commerce, Karl Fischer, promotive corporation, Edgar Kellerman, secretary of the promotive corp, Donald Malcolm, president, chamber of commerce, Clifford Warren, promotive corporation, Robert Franz, chamber of commerce, L. J. Lange, promotive corporation, William O'Herrin, chamber of commerce, John D. Clifford, promotive corporation, Jerald Theder, chamber of commerce, Peardon Schlei, promotive corporation, Clete Schey, chamber of commerce, Arthur Hilgendorf, president, promotive corporation, Clarence Hartmann, exec sec, chamber of commerce, Arthur Turke, promotive corporation, Ken Beyer, the chamber of commerce, Bernard Dunlap, Wis-Pak director, James Somerall, president of Pepsi Cola, Donald Below, president of Wis-Pak.



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Watertown aldermen enjoyed a cool can of Pepsi-Cola while at the Wis-Pak canning facility dedication.


Lieutenant Governor Jack Olson; Mayor Kenneth Wilkes; aldermen Erich Nuernberg, Walter Nuernberg; George Day; Delmar Schwartz; Mathias Hertel; Harris Fredrich; Phillip Gerloff; Kurt Rex; and Roland Ruesch; Bernard Dunlap, Wis-Pak director; James Somerall, president of Pepsi-Cola; and Donald Below, Wis-Pak, president.



A large crowd was on hand Monday afternoon for the groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction of the Pepsi-Cola canning plant being erected by Wis-Pak, Inc., a company formed by 16 franchised Pepsi bottlers in Wisconsin and Michigan. Wis-Pak, Inc. purchased 34 1/2 acres of land on the West Road from the city. It will construct a canning plant with 64,000 square feet of floor space.  The plant will have an output of 1,000 cans per minute, and in five years will have a capacity of 9,000,000 cases per year. Initial plant investment is estimated at $1,550,000.  The annual payroll will be $250,000. Approximately 20 persons will be employed.  The plant will be highly automated and will be one of the largest soft drink canning facilities in the United States.



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Site of the 65,000 square foot canning facility for Pepsi Cola.  The building, being constructed on a 34 ˝ acre site at 860 West Street is owned by Wis-Pak Inc.,  a corporation comprised of 16 Pepsi bottlers in Wisconsin and upper Michigan.  The initial investment for the plant is $1,550,000 and the payroll is expected to be $250,000 annually.  The plant will be one of the largest soft drink canning facilities in the United States.



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1970       CONSTRUCTION OF Wis-Pak (Pepsi plant)







Watertown Daily Times, 01 25 1983


A major expansion and improvement program which will cost over $1.5 million, is being undertaken at Wis-Pak Inc., 860 West Street, according to Arnold Fobes, vice president and general manager of the firm.  Work is already underway for the projects, which are broken down into two major areas.  They are a new two-liter bottling facility and improvements to reduce the content of waste from the plant which is sent to the Watertown Wastewater Treatment plant.  Fobes said the two-liter bottle project is being undertaken to meet the needs of the Pepsi distributors that own Wis-Pak. 


Watertown Daily Times, 11 11 1983


Another Watertown industry has undertaken an ambitious expansion program.  Wis-Pak, Inc., 860 West Street, has announced it is constructing a 48,000 square foot addition to the north end of its facilities.  The addition, which will be 200 by 240 feet in size, will be used primarily for warehouse space, according to Arnold Fobes, vice president and general manager.  Work on the $600,000 square foot addition got under way this week.  Oliver Construction of Oconomowoc is general contractor for the project.  Initial ground preparation work is now under way.



Watertown Daily Times, 09 13 1985

Wis-Pak, the Pepsi Cola canning facility located at 860 West Street, Monday afternoon announced plans for another major expansion of its facilities.  This expansion, a 135,000 square foot addition on the west side of the north end of the present building, will be used primarily for storage of both full and empty cans.  Arnold Fobes, vice president and general manager, announced the plans at groundbreaking ceremonies.  Oliver Construction of Oconomowoc is construction engineer for the project.  Work is scheduled to begin immediately, Fobes said.  He said the addition was being constructed as a joint effort with Metal Container Corporation, a subsidiary of Anheuser Busch, which is a major contractor with Wis-Pak for production of cans.



Watertown Daily Times, 07 08 1988

Barbara Parish has been promoted to the position of president and chief executive officer of Wis-Pak, Inc., according to an announcement by Ed McKelvey, chairman of the board of the firm.  Parish previously held the position of vice president and chief operating officer of the corporation.  In her new role, Parish has full responsibility for the business and affairs of the holding company and its subsidiaries.  Wis-Pak is owned by 29 shareholders, each a Pepsi Cola bottler.  The corporation owns five subsidiaries, including the production operation in Watertown.  The other subsidiary corporations are production operations in Mankato, Minn., and Norfolk, Neb., a Central Sales Corporation, and Klarbrunn, a private label water company.



Watertown Daily Times, 09 30 1989

FORT ATKINSON - The Watertown-Fort Atkinson area could soon be known as the soft-drink capital of the world. The largest soft-drink bottler in existence, Pepsi-Cola’s Wis-Pak is located in Watertown.  As a logical addition, the world’s most technologically advanced metal container plant is now operating in Fort Atkinson. The plant held an open house for members of the media and the families of employees Tuesday.  On June 6, Anheuser-Busch’s 200,000 square foot, $40 million Metal Container Corporation (MCC) plant sent out its first shipment of aluminum cans to its only customer — Wis-Pak.




Wis-Pak Inc. headquartered in Watertown has announced major manufacturing upgrades at its facility in the city, along with the construction of a new distribution center at Hermansville, Mich., by its subsidiary, WP Beverages LLC.


Production capacity is being expanded at the Watertown facility, along with additional processing capabilities for packaging its current product line and its portfolio of liquid refreshment beverages.


The major internal upgrades at Watertown's facility at 860 West St. include the installation of new equipment. The new equipment is for shrink wrapping of pallets of the products produced at the plant.  The upgrades will be operational by the end of the year.


The Watertown facility, constructed in 1969 and operational in 1970, began with one can filling line in its 64,000-square-foot facility. There have been seven expansions at the firm over the years, including 1977, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991 and 1996.  The current facility has 413,000 square feet and produces in excess of 30 million cases of liquid refreshments annually.  In 2004, Wis-Pak formed a majority-owned subsidiary, WP Beverages, LLC, to purchase franchise operations. Currently those include Pepsi-Cola of Madison, Pepsi-Cola of Rockford and Pepsi-Cola of Iron Mountain.


The 2004 franchise purchase was a unique transaction approved by the Pepsi-Cola Company, which provides Wis-Pak the opportunity to not only produce but also distribute the products to many loyal customers.




Ball Corp. will permanently cease manufacturing operations at the polyethylene terephthalate plastic packaging plant in Watertown by June.  The Watertown plant on Dayton Street, which operates four production lines with an annual capacity of approximately 250 million recyclable polyethylene terephthalate bottles, is scheduled to close by June 7, subject to customer requirements, according to Scott McCarty, director of corporate relations for Ball Corp.  The local facility employs 52 people and produces polyethylene terephthalate bottles that are mainly used to hold carbonated soft drinks and water.  Ball Corp. acquired the Watertown plant from Wis-Pak Inc. in 2001.



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History of Watertown, Wisconsin