Lotion in motion: Vanicream maker to add third expansion in three years

Pharmaceutical Specialties Inc., which makes the popular skin cream for sensitive skin, is adding another 5,000 square feet to its northwest Rochester warehouses as well as a 4,000-square-foot, two-story office section. This is the third expansion in as many years.

Vanicream skin cream makes its way through the packaging process at Pharmaceutical Specialties Inc., maker of Vanicream, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Vanicream and its related products continue to grow in popularity, which drove the expansions of Pharmaceutical Specialties Inc. ’s Rochester facility in 2020, 2021, and now again in 2022.

PSI, founded by Rochester pharmacists Conrad Thompson and Edward Mansfield in 1974, continues to expand its footprint at 1620 Industrial Drive NW. In 2020, it added a 15,500-square-foot expansion of its facility, followed by a 9,250-square-foot addition to its warehouse in 2021.

And now the construction crews are gearing up again at the home of the sensitive skin products in blue and white tubs.

PSI submitted building permits this week to add another 5,000 square feet to its warehouses as well as a 4,000-square-foot, two-story office section.

In 2021, co-president and COO Rick Sandwick predicted building a second floor would happen within five years as the company reached the limits of expanding outward on its more-than-4-acre plot. His prediction is coming true much sooner than expected.


The hope is to complete the latest expansion by this fall.

While PSI makes and sells more than 20 products, Vanicream is still the big driver of the growth. The thick, white skin cream without any fragrances or chemicals is still the company's top seller more than 40 years after it was introduced.

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The workforce on the northwest campus is also growing. PSI now employs more than 120 people, up from 110 less than a year ago.

The company employed 30 people when it moved into the former Telex complex on Industrial Drive in 2003. PSI made the move after outgrowing three other Rochester manufacturing plants.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Jeff at 507-285-7798 or
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