While there’s been “no big news” on the small and medium business-development fronts in Sumner’s core, according to the City’s planning department, the industrial sector is expanding like wildfire.
“For the last six months or so, we’ve been extremely busy,” said Paul Rogerson, director of Community Development for Sumner. “There’s been little new industrial or retail, but our permitting has taken off like crazy.”
To clarify, the city’s warehousing sector is in exponential expansion mode, specifically around the north end. Although Rogerson declined to identify specific companies or even industries that have been making deals, he did note that most of the new business was due to warehouse docking and general warehouse activity generated by the nearby ports of Seattle and Tacoma.
Puyallup Sumner Chamber president and CEO Shelly Schlumpf concurred that Sumner’s proximity to the ports has been a boon for the recent industrial business there.
“It’s kind of building itself over on the 50-yard line between the two ports,” she said. “That’s why we’re fighting so hard for the State Route 167 transportation package, so that more businesses can get through the area and build there.”
Already, as far as large manufacturing goes, Sumner already boasts names like Amazon, Green Mountain Coffee, and The Truss Company,
Amazon, which opened a 500,000-square-foot facility there in 2011 as part of a 10-facility expansion that year, supports more than 1,000 regional workers, including several hundred part-time employees during the Christmas holidays. Green Mountain Coffee, which opened its 487,000-square-foot facility in 2008 on the cusp of the recession, began with roughly 200 employees and has since then nearly doubled its local workforce. The Truss Company, which also runs a Eugene, Oregon site, has an 81,000 square foot building that sits on 11 acres and employs nearly 200.
However, what speaks best for Sumner’s crackling industrial growth is the fact that in May alone the city had the largest increase in that sector since 2005, before the recession.
“For May, the project valuation totaled $9 million,” Rogerson said. “That’s the record month for us in the eight years we’ve been keeping records.”