Food service opens shop in south Everett

By JOHN WOLCOTT

Herald Business Journal Editor

EVERETT – Food Services of America, the first tenant in CSR Associated’s 320-acre gravel pit-turned-business park in southwest Everett, opened its doors for hundreds of customers and food brokers Wednesday, showing off its $37 million high-tech distribution center.

"This is a win-win situation," said FSA President and chief executive Tom Staley, during a tour of the facility. "CSR had never really considered a food services company as a tenant, but we proved to them we could be a good neighbor. It’s also a win for the city of Everett. There’s a lot of competition for attracting companies and without the city’s positive attitude we wouldn’t be here."

FSA officials see significant benefits to their new facility, including boosting the county economy, offsetting some of the impact of the Boeing Co. layoffs over the past two years by adding to the county workforce; providing an attractive, stable anchor business park tenant, and strengthening union organizations.

The company has hired many of its first 120 employees from Everett and the Snohomish County area. Eventually, the plant is expected to nearly triple its present size on the 33-acre site and the workforce is expected to grow to 800, officials said.

Jobs at the facility will span a variety of warehouse, truck driving and administrative positions, most with salaries in the $30,000 to $40,000 a year range, FSA board Chairman Thomas J. Stewart said at groundbreaking ceremonies 10 months ago.

The new 196,417-square-foot building includes offices, cold and dry storage warehouses and 306,000 square feet of landscaping. It is located off Hardeson Road east of Paine Field.

Although the company will be operating its truck fleet around the clock, FSA officials say the activity will be less intrusive than CSR Associated’s dump trucks and cement trucks.

"We plan about 70 trucks in and out each day, but they’re spaced out during the day, averaging about three trucks an hour. It’s safe to say that’s a lot less than CSR, where trucks often leave one after another throughout an 8 to 10-hour workday," said Gary Odegard, vice president of communications for Services Group of America, the West Seattle-based parent company of FSA.

Also, many of the FSA trucks leave before 5 a.m. to make deliveries so they are not adding to congestion during the early rush hours, he said.

"As we considered how to add much-needed warehouse space to our Kent distribution operation, it became apparent that building a second warehouse north of Seattle could address many traffic and logistic issues," Stewart said in a prepared statement released at Wednesday’s festivities.

Nearly 100 vendors set up booths Wednesday to show off their products to FSA customers, promoting food products that FSA delivers to restaurants, hospitals, colleges, military facilities and hotels – everywhere, practically, except to grocery stores. By the time the facility is finished it will serve as many as 4,000 customers in Snohomish County and north to the Canadian border.

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