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Imperial Brown purchases Oklahoma walk-in cooler manufacturer

SALISBURY – With existing manufacturing plants on both the West and East coasts, Imperial Brown is acquiring a third facility in America’s Heartland.

The company, one of the leading manufacturers of walk-in coolers and freezers in the nation, has purchased Artic Temp Inc. of Prague, Okla.

“Our employees are all very excited to be welcoming a new factory to the I.B. family,” said Justin L. Sandall, president and CEO of Imperial Brown. “This addition expands our footprint and provides critical access to the Midwest, allowing us to better serve our expanding customer base.”

Calvin Gatlin started Artic Temp in February 1984 when he purchased the assets of a bankrupt cooler company in Oklahoma City. After relocating to a small town in rural Oklahoma, the company began manufacturing and installing walk-in coolers and freezers.

Gatlin built a successful business. Since his death six years ago, the business has been run by his daughter, Diane West.

“The location is perfect, but it’s the values, ethics and character we found exhibited by this family business in a small town that makes Artic Temp a perfect cultural fit,” said Sandall. “The more Diane and I spoke, the more we both realized we’d found what we were looking for. I am honored that Diane is entrusting me and Imperial Brown with her dad’s company and its people – from Beverly Winn, the plant manager, to the newest employees.”

West says she is pleased that Artic Temp will become part of a company “that cares about its employees as well as its customers.”

Sandall said Imperial Brown plans to invest over $1.5 million in new equipment within the first two years of ownership. That will be critical to Imperial Brown’s plans to add at least $10 million in annual revenue to existing business, he said.

In 2012, Imperial Manufacturing of Portland, Ore., acquired W.A. Brown & Son of Salisbury to form Imperial Brown. Over the past four years, the two companies have been merged in all aspects, including manufacturing and quoting, with investments of more than $1 million in new machinery at the North Carolina plant.

Sandall said the North Carolina plant has grown from 40 employees to 130, with a $15 million increase in revenue.

As a company that is 100 percent employee-owned, Sandall told the Artic employees that culture is Imperial Brown’s top priority.

“We are the best at what we do, and we must be,” he said. “Throughout the industry, we are known as the company to call when everyone else says no.”

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