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Watson Recycling wins state award

MINNEAPOLIS — Watson Recycling, with locations in Rochester, Oronoco and Austin, was chosen as Minnesota’s Family-Owned Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Currently eight family members hold leadership roles in the company, and, with the help of SBA guaranteed financing, they recycled 51 million pounds of material that would have otherwise gone to the landfill last year.

Watson Recycling LLC was founded in 1980 by Rodney Watson, who picked up glass bottles and other materials such as paper, tin, and aluminum from local bars and restaurants, sorting and crushing them.

Gross sales remained in the six figures until 2005. Glen’s sons brought new ideas to the business and increased both profitability and volume. In doing this, space became limited and gross sales reached the multiple million-mark by 2008. In 2011 Watson took a leap, purchasing 12 acres in Oronoco and renovating 25,000-square-feet of warehouse space. The expansion allowed for additional opportunities in recycling vehicles and expanded ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

In 2015, Watson expanded again, with the purchase of an auto salvage business in Austin allowing for resale parts and additional recyclable materials.

“Our family owes a debt of gratitude to all those who have helped us over the past 35 years including the SBA and its affiliates,” said CEO Jeremiah Watson in a press release. “Much of our growth likely would not have happened without their assistance. If Rodney were here today he would be enormously proud of what this company has become and we look forward with anticipation and excitement to what it will become 35 years from now. Thank You.”