Started in January 1970 by Vernon Carlson. At the time the company was known as R&B Distributing with facilities in Rochester, Minnesota. R&B Distributing was formed to fill a need for the distribution, to dealers, of the Ritchie line of automatic livestock fountains. Serving the Southeastern corner of Minnesota.
In January of 1979 R&B Distributing expanded its territory by adding the East Central and Northeastern areas of Minnesota to its coverage area. At that time an office/warehouse was opened in St. Cloud, Minnesota in addition to the Rochester location. With the opening of the St. Cloud location Tim Carlson was brought on board to handle that branch and in July of 1979 Carlson Wholesale, Inc. was formed and purchased all of the assets of R&B Distributing.
Over the years Carlson Wholesale has added various product lines, in addition to Ritchie, to offer the dealer network. With the addition of other product lines came the need for further family involvement. In 1996 Chad Carlson was brought on board to take care of further sales efforts including dealer support, trade shows and customer education.
The addition of Chad to the business began the third generation for this family business and spurred further growth creating the need for a larger facility in St. Cloud. In November 1999 the St. Cloud operation moved into a larger facility. July of 2000 brought another territory expansion, the addition of 3/4 of Iowa. The addition of the Iowa area and growing sales in Minnesota dictated the need for a larger facility in Rochester. January of 2001 Carlson Wholesale moved into its new office/warehouse in the Rochester airport industrial park.