Our story began back in 1947 as a small welding shop in downtown St. Cloud, Minnesota-steadily growing to where we are today.  In 2011, we began a major transformation from a 55-person, 2-location welding supply company to the nearly a 140-person, 8-location, diversified company we are today.  Our business includes: Distribution (Industrial, Welding, Medical & Specialty Gases & Supply), CO2 Solutions (Beverage Carbonation, Bulk CO2 & ColdZERO Dry Ice), and Automation and Robotics.

  • 1947

    Central Welding Supply opens in downtown St. Cloud.  Owned by Carl Shutan.

  • Oct 22, 2018


    Central Welding Supply moves to current 3,200-sq.ft. location. Leo Henkemeyer (grandfather of current CEO) joins Central Welding as a salesman. He and Leo Rahm purchase Central Welding.  Company has 6 employees.

  • May 12, 2010


    The business grows.  Leo Henkemeyer buys out Leo Rahm.

  • 1965

    Central McGowan is formed when Central Welding Supply merges with McGowan Welding of Little Falls.  The company is owned by Leo Henkemeyer and Frank McGowan.

  • Nov 2, 2018


    Frank McGowan retires. Leo Henkemeyer buys Frank's shares in the business.

  • Nov 2, 2018


    Ray Kosel becomes general manager of Central McGowan Inc. (CMI).  Major expansion (17,600 sq. ft.) including remodel that adds 14,600 sq. ft. and purchase of adjacent building for an additional 3,000 sq. ft.

  • Nov 2, 2018


    Ray Kosel retires. Pete Breer, Jeff Skumautz, and Al Prozinski become Vice President and Management Team. Company has 24 employees.

  • Nov 2, 2018


    CMI adds cryogenic pumping system, lab, and bulk storage, and ability to pump on-site.  Major expansion and remodel in St. Cloud add 13,000 sq. ft. Two warehouse additions in Little Falls add another 10,000 sq. ft.

  • Nov 15, 2018


    Company has 49 employees, 50,000 sq. ft. in St. Cloud and 10,500 sq. ft. in Little Falls.  Joe Francis, the company's present CEO/President, joins the customer service team.

  • Nov 15, 2018


    CMI gets into the carbonated beverage (BevCarb) business.  Cindy Francis (daughter of Leo Henkemeyer) takes over as CEO, beginning second generation of family leadership.

  • Nov 15, 2018


    Pete Breer and Al Prozinski retire. Jeff Francis (Cindy Francis' husband) becomes Vice President, then assumes CEO role.

  • Nov 28, 2018


    Cindy Francis returns as CEO after the sudden and unfortunate passing of Jeff Francis, then CEO/CFO. Joe Francis accepts the position of VP and CFO.  He works with the management team to lead the company through succession planning and a new leadership/company structure.

  • Nov 15, 2018


    Complete warehouse expansion in St. Cloud. Purchase Countryside CO2, giving us our 3rd location in New Prague.

  • Nov 28, 2018



    Company undergoes a rebrand, launches a new logo, the "WE WORK FOR YOU" tagline is born.

  • Nov 28, 2018


    Pro-Fect Automation in Little Falls is purchased and moved to a 12,000 sq. ft. building adjacent to the home office in St. Cloud.  The Little Falls Store is relocated to the former Pro-Fect building and remodeled.  A new site is purchased in Burnsville and the New Prague store moved to the new site.

    Joe Francis becomes President/CEO of company, and third generation of family leadership. Cindy assumes Chair role on newly created Board. 


  • Nov 28, 2018


    Pro-CO2 is purchased and a distribution hub in Fargo, ND added. Company continues to grow.

  • Nov 28, 2018


    Company launches ColdZERO Dry Ice—further diversifying its portfolio of offerings. The company's number of employees nears 100. Two-Phase Major Renovation Project in St. Cloud begins.

  • Mar 29, 2021


    • First Phase of Major Renovation Project in St. Cloud is completed, which includes:
      • Home office & automation building upgrades to expand and improve employee welfare and work areas for growing team
      • Store floor remodel to enhance customer in-store experience
      • Lab & fill plant expansion & enhancements to increase fill capabilities and optimize compliance
      • Training room addition to provide tech-enabled training space for team members, customers and vendor-partners
    • Company is reorganized into three business units to focus on specific markets and better serve our customers:

      • Automation
      • Distribution - Industrial, Welding & Medical
      • CO2 Solutions North (St. Cloud) & South (St. Paul) - Selling Beverage Carbonation Gases/Systems & Dry Ice

  • Apr 7, 2020

    September 2019

    Jasons Beverage Carbonation is purchased, more than doubling the company’s beverage carbonation and dry ice customer base.

  • Mar 29, 2021


    • Second Phase of Major Renovation Project in St. Cloud is completed, which includes:
      • Warehouse expansion & remodel to increase warehouse and shipping/receiving capacity, capabilities, safety and efficiency; and
      • Loading dock addition to improve efficiency and team safety.
    • New Central McGowan Vehicle Branding hits the road.
    • Renovation of C02 Solutions South (St. Paul, formerly Jasons) begins.
    • The Central McGowan team approaches 120.

  • Mar 29, 2021

    October 2020

    Expands Fargo CO2 Distribution Hub to a fully stocked store & distribution site, bringing total number of retail locations to five.

  • May 26, 2021


    March - Acquires Fessler Carbonic Gas in Des Moines, IA, which delivers CO2 solutions to every county in Iowa, growing business and team to more than 120.

    April - Acquires Metro Welding Supply in Minneapolis, MN, strengthening presence in the metro area.

    September - Closes purchase of Preferred Welder Sales in Mankato, MN, expanding coverage to southern Minnesota. Team is nearly 140 strong.

  • Feb 7, 2022


    Central McGowan turns 75, celebrating the past and looking forward to the next 75.

  • Jan 2, 2024


    Acquires Iowa City Carbonation Company (IC CarbCo), based in Iowa City, further enriching the company's reach, and reinforcing its dedication to providing high-quality products and services in the Iowa market.