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New water bottling plant coming to Everett

The new water and flavored water firm plans for 60 employees.

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By Mike Benbow
Herald Writer
Published:
Everett will be getting a new bottling plant after all.
Evergreen Bottling hopes to begin operations later this year with 60 employees to make bottled water and flavored water to ship to Asia from the Port of Everett, general manager Dave Markle said Wednesday.
The new business was announced by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, who used it in his state of the county address to the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce as an example of his government’s partnership to create jobs.
Markle said after Reardon’s talk that his business has contracts in Japan with distributors who supply drinks throughout Asia and will open a 100,000-square-foot facility in about 10 months, probably in the Port of Everett’s Riverside Business Park along the Snohomish River.
“This opportunity appears to be a win for the area and the Port of Everett is excited to be a part of trying to make something work,” Port commissioner Mark Wolken said.
Markle expects to start with one manufacturing line and 60 workers and add a second line and probably 40 more employees later, using water from the city’s main water reservoir, Spada Lake. He said the water, collected from runoff in the Cascade Range, is of high quality.
Everett had been on track for a new bottling center called Tethys Enterprises, but the backers shifted their plans to Anacortes after Mayor Ray Stephanson refused to guarantee the requested 5 million gallons of water daily without some job guarantees in return.
Markle said that he won’t need the amount of water sought by Tethys — probably only about 2 million gallons a month.
He said the county was very helpful in urging him to select Everett by showing him the opportunities available. He said being near the port was essential because of the cost of exporting the bottled water.
“The location near the port was huge in our decision,” he said. “It’s underutilized and we’ll be shipping a lot of containers out of that port. In this business, every penny counts.”
The port regularly ships Boeing Co. parts from Japan to the Everett plant.
“The intent is to leverage outbound shipping capacity made possible thorough our partnership with imports from the aerospace business and others to create a value-added product that creates jobs on this end as well,” Wolken said.
The port has been looking for businesses to locate in its Riverside Business Park since receiving the property from the Weyerhaeuser Corp. years ago, but pickings have been slim.
The park “is the perfect location for a company who is looking to export their products,” said Port Director John Mohr. “Our ideal user for the Riverside Business Park creates family wage jobs and investment in our community and cargo for our marine terminals.”
In making the announcement, Reardon said he hopes to “be a partner, not a burden” with business, saying jobs were “the most important issue affecting our county.”
He said the county has cut spending, set aside a reserve to keep its bond rating high and costs low, and looked for ways to eliminate barriers for business to provide better opportunities.
Reardon said that two weeks ago, the county launched a new effort called Project Catalyst to reduce the time it takes for business permits by about half. “That will add 70 projects within the 2011 building season,” he said. “The speed with which a project can be moved is critical.”
The county pushed ahead to create a new aerospace training center at Paine Field when state government didn’t support it, he added. “We located a building and funding to send a statement,” he said. “Now we’re seeing Boeing hire 92 percent of its candidates that they interview.”
Reardon also noted that the county has partnered with the city of Everett to support agriculture and downtown redevelopment with the plans for a 60,000-square-foot farmers market and food processing facility in Everett.
“We can’t depend on others to create our opportunities,” he said.
Another project, he said, is the recently announced new 39,000-square-foot multipurpose building at the county fairgrounds in Monroe.
Reardon said the county also plans to push forward with technology by opening county data to the developers of new computer applications.
“We want to open the doors to the public to dictate what they want,” he said, adding that apps that allow people to report graffiti or track traffic are two examples.
“We’re not relying on federal bailouts,” he told the business group. “We’re going to chart our own path.”
Mike Benbow: benbow@heraldnet.com, 425-339-3459.

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