Posted April 30, 2024

First Companies Breaks Ground on State-of-the-Art DC in West Salem, Wisconsin

Company has 100 employees in the La Crosse region today, with plans to double that number.

Pictured L-R: Family members Todd Restel, Chief Financial Officer, Joe Poehling, Chairman Emeritus, and Katie Poehling Seymour, President & CEO

First Companies held a ceremonial groundbreaking in West Salem, WI, on Wednesday, April 17th. In attendance were members of the Poehling Family, First Companies staff members, and several esteemed guests including Kurt Bauer, CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), Scott Schumacher, President of the Village of West Salem, and Dirk Debbink, Chairman of MSI General Corporation.

“Today we move dirt. Next year this time we move boxes. We move products. We move forward.” shared President & CEO Katie Poehling Seymour.

Located in the heart of La Crosse County, WI, the Village of West Salem, just 15 miles east of La Crosse, is one of the faster growing communities in the county. With convenient access to highways, railways, and water cargo facilities, First Companies Distribution Center is perfectly positioned for seamless freight distribution. As a sought-after addition to the area's business landscape, our facility is poised to bolster the local job market by offering promising employment opportunities.

“We’re really proud of this project because we have 100 employees in the La Crosse region today and over the next decade, we’ll be doubling that number of employees.” says Katie, “My family came to the Driftless area in 1855 and we have not left since. This has been a place for us to build our families, build our community and truly build our business that’s grown into 650 employees in nine states, in over 52 locations, and now here we are with the newest one that we’ll be starting today.”

Kurt Bauer, CEO, WMC commented, “WMC’s mission is to make Wisconsin the most competitive state in the country for business and this is a great example of that. We are expanding the economic development in the Coulee Region and even thought the sun isn’t shining now, it is on this particular project.”

With state-of-the art technology and innovative logistics solutions, this is a significant milestone in First Companies commitment to delivering unparalleled service to its valued customers. The building is projected to be completed by the first quarter of 2025.

About First Companies

Established in La Crosse, WI, First Companies is a regional distributor with 52 locations, including: 28 First Supply distribution branches, 5 First Waterworks branches, 1 CDC, 14 Gerhard’s Kitchen, Bath, and Lighting stores, and 4 Kohler Signature Stores by First Supply in the upper Midwest. Founded in 1897, First Companies employs over 650 people, is a family-owned, single source provider of HVAC, Builder, Plumbing, Lighting, Waterworks, Industrial PVF, Pump, Well and Septic supplies. For more information, visit: