J. Winkler & Sons was founded on November 2, 1911 by John Winkler and his son Elmer Winkler. Starting their business with just $225.00, John and Elmer first sold produce, poultry, and eggs. They made their deliveries using horse-drawn wagons. The business' first location was in the small Bays building in Dale, Indiana with dirt floors and a rental of $2.00 per month.
Several years later the company was moved to a tobacco barn in downtown Dale. In 1926 a fire burned this building and a bigger warehouse was built in its place. It was here that J. Winkler & Sons expanded into sugar, salt, wool and hides. They purchased special semi-trucks built to haul poultry and eggs to markets in Buffalo, New York City, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Baltimore, Cleveland and Philadelphia. It took a two-man team four days to make a run to one of these markets.
In 1955 Elmer, a.k.a. E. T., retired and turned the business over to his three sons Jack, Lloyd, and Bill Winkler. In 1957 the company moved to its current location on the east side of Dale. Since then, several thousand square feet have been added and the roof has been raised an additional 20 feet. In 1982, J. Winkler & Sons added a frozen food and fresh meat facility on the north side of Dale along I-64.
On April 1, 1989 Tom Winkler (son of Lloyd) and Lynn Winkler (daughter of Jack) took over as the company's fourth-generation owners. Today, Winkler services over 400 retail accounts in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri. Through the combined efforts of owners and Winkler associates, the commitment made to Winkler's customers in 1911 has been strengthened even more.
An artist's depiction of Elmer (left) and John (right) standing in front of the original warehouse.