Warren Distribution is a privately held family-owned business founded in 1922 by James Schlott. The company started as a distribution business supplying lubricating oils and related products to agricultural businesses in Omaha and surrounding area.
In 1935, Warren Distribution expanded into manufacturing and began making and packaging antifreeze. Warren’s “Polar” house brand was introduced on packaged antifreeze in 1949.
After a fire destroyed its plant operations located at 811 Howard Street in downtown Omaha, Warren moved its operations to 727 S. 13th Street, Omaha. From the 1960s until December 1985, Warren blended and packaged product out of its 13th Street location. This location continued to serve as the company’s headquarters until June 2017 when it moved its corporate headquarters into the Rail and Commerce Building on 10th and Mason.
Bob Schlott, grandson of James Schlott and the company’s current CEO, joined the company in 1971. At about the same time, Bob Schlott purchased some property along River Road in Council Bluffs, Iowa and began an antifreeze packaging business (Terminal Packaging) which eventually merged with Warren Distribution.
In 1975, the company added to its “Polar” line and introduced its “Polar” brand of windshield washer fluid.
Warren Distribution installed its first blow molding machine at its Council Bluffs location in 1976 allowing the company to manufacture its own bottles for packaging antifreeze under its Polar brand.
As Warren’s business grew, space was needed to house raw materials and finished goods, so, in the early 1980’s, Warren Distribution built a 45,000 square foot warehouse adjacent to its Council Bluffs manufacturing facility. Soon thereafter, the company built a distribution center across the road which today sits on a 15-acre site and spans over 165,000 square feet.
Over the years, Warren Distribution added to its line of house brand products by introducing its Mag1 brand in the late 1980s and its Accel brand in the early 1990s. Today, a wide variety of lubricants and functional fluids are packaged under these two house brands providing our customers over hundreds of manufactured products to choose from.
“…the company has always had an open door policy to ensure that its associates are respected as individuals and are treated fairly.”
Keeping a keen eye on the industry and best manufacturing practices, Warren obtained ISO9001 certification in the late 1990s adding credibility to Warren’s already robust quality program. Around the same time, Warren implemented a lean manufacturing program focused on improving performance, creating more value for its customers, and reducing costs.
In 2002, recognizing a need for a manufacturing operation for the production of automotive lubricants in the southeast, Warren acquired an old mothballed 40,000 square foot Amoco manufacturing facility in Guntersville, Alabama. Warren rehabbed the facility, and, in 2013, added blow molding capability. Today, Warren’s Guntersville operation spans approximately 55,000 square feet.
Warren Distribution further added to its manufacturing and distribution capabilities by acquiring a former Fokker airplane factory located in Glen Dale, West Virginia which in its history was once owned by the Mattel toy company and manufactured the Big Wheel tricycle. After a year of rehabbing the large factory, the company began blow molding and packaging operations in 2008.
As Warren’s business continued to grow, Warren purchased an additional 110,000 square foot warehouse located on an adjacent property. Warren’s West Virginia operations also performs contract packaging services for a major oil company in addition to blending and packaging private-label and house-branded products.
Warren’s business activities in Alabama have continued to expand over the company’s history. In 2012 Warren acquired a 14-acre parcel of land in Albertville, Alabama with about 120,000 square feet of usable warehouse space.
As our business continues to grow, so does Warren’s footprint. In 2016, Warren acquired a 100,000 square foot building sitting on nearly 10 acres in Houston, Texas. The Houston facility will serve as a state-of-the-art bulk blending operation. Additionally, Warren’s continuing business success drove the company’s need to acquire yet additional space for its West Virginia operations. So, in 2017, Warren acquired a 200,000 square foot building sitting on nearly 46 acres in Shadyside, Ohio to serve as a warehouse for both finished product and raw materials.
Throughout its history, Warren Distribution has recognized the integral part its associates play in in its growth, prosperity and success. To recognize each and every associate’s contributions to the Company’s success, the company has been offering a bonus program since the 1970s. In addition, from the date Warren Distribution rolled out its 401k program in the 1980s, it has provided a company match – not too many companies can say that. Just recently, Warren Distribution implemented a performance management program as a means for ensuring the fairness of salaries paid to associates and providing a timely and equitable assessment of each associates’ performance and contribution.
“To recognize each and every associate’s contributions to the Company’s success, the company has been offering a bonus program since the 1970s.”
Additionally, from the date the company began in 1922 until today, the company has always had an open door policy to ensure that its associates are respected as individuals and are treated fairly. It is precisely this approach in creating a workplace in which Warren’s associates have never felt the need to bring in an outsider to speak for them, even though they have always had a right to. Warren is proud that it has been throughout its entire history a union free workplace.
Warren continues to grow and thrive due to the hard work and dedication of our associates. The future is limitless when you have the Warren Distribution team of associates behind you.