Thurston Economic Development Council
February 2012

Article1Trader Joe's Opening Distribution Center 
Hawks Prairie Facility Will Support Hundreds of New Jobs

Trader Joe's Distribution Center   

A 500,000-square-foot Trader Joe's distribution center is well under way in Thurston County.


Located on about 30-acres in Hawks Prairie, the project is expected to be completed this summer.


"For the City of Lacey this is a very nice addition to our industrial area and community, especially bringing 400 jobs when job development is scarce," said Director of Community Development Rick Walk. "We look forward to working with Trader Joe's as a new partner in our community."


Lacey's culture of timeliness and responsiveness played well during the site selection process. The time frame Trader Joe's needed for permitting was easy for the city to commit to, as it was consistent with how Lacey regularly operates.


The Thurston County location, strategically located on the I-5 corridor between Seattle and Portland, also offered Trader Joe's a pad ready site. The City of DuPont also had been in the running.


Trader Joe's distribution center is at Hawks Prairie 111 Corporate Park, also home to the Harbor Wholesale Foods distribution center. Neither project would have been allowed without a City of Lacey change in 2010 that increased the allowable size for distribution centers from 200,000-square-feet to 500,000-square-feet.


A Trader Joe's grocery store opened to much enthusiasm on Olympia's Westside in 2009.The company has 19 stores in Washington, 12 in Oregon and hundreds throughout the United States according to its website.

Article2Nominate an Outstanding Business

Deadline for Nominations Monday, February 13th! 
Help honor a local organization's business excellence by nominating them for an EDC Business Recognition Award.


"Despite the economic environment many organizations are making important contributions in our community. Their efforts need to be raised up not only to show them appreciation, but to inspire and remind us of what can be done," said EDC Director Michael Cade. The nomination deadline is Monday, February 13.


Annually the EDC recognizes businesses significantly contributing to the economic vitality and fabric of Thurston County through things like job creation, innovation and leadership. Award categories include:

 Annual Meeting & Business Recognition Awards Event 

Tuesday, April 10 - Red Lion, Olympia - 11am-1:30pm



For questions, or to sponsor this event, please contact the EDC by email or call 360.754.6320.

Article3Entrepreneur Leverages Solar for Bottom Line

Harnessing the Yellow Orb in the Sky Makes Tons of "Cents" 

Renee Ries 

"You'd almost be crazy not to do it right now," said our local poster-child for energy efficiency upgrades, Renee Ries.


Ries has replaced 113 lighting fixtures, added a 48 panel solar array, and now has her sights set on new windows and a new HVAC system. She is the founder of Fairchild Record Search and Sundodger Ventures, LLC.


"There's still a perception that alternative energy and energy efficiency is cumbersome and expensive," said Ries. "That's not what I found thanks to currently available state and federal tax incentives, grants and Thurston Energy's interest rate buy-down program."


Ries started with an energy walk-thru of her 7,500-square-foot building done jointly by PSE and Thurston Energy. The building, owned by Sundodger, is located at 3400 Capitol Blvd in Tumwater near Baskin-Robbins.


Reducing Energy Consumption

Several improvements were identified to reduce Ries' energy use. "There was some low hanging fruit," according to Thurston Energy's Business Manager Josh Cummings. By simply upgrading to energy efficient T-8 fluorescent lighting big gains could be made.


Ries used Thurston Energy services to find and evaluate local, qualified contractors. She selected United States Electric for the project. Her costs, after a PSE rebate, were recouped in the first year through her energy savings.


No Dodging Sun

for Sundodger

Solar was next on Ries' list. She'd heard Kirk Haffner of South Sound Solar speak at Rotary. He was a small business guy to whom service meant it did to Ries. He was also part of Thurston Energy's local contractor network.


Using the energy audit information as a jumping off point, South Sound Solar then performed a solar site survey and designed a system using Made in Washington panels and inverters.


The entire project took...Read More

Article4Could You Use FREE Consulting Services? 

SCORE Provides Hundreds of Hours of Free Counseling 


Former top level executives and successful entrepreneurs are offering free business consulting through the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).


Under the umbrella of the EDC's Business Resource Center, SCORE counselors in 2011 alone provided over 200 hours of free business consulting.


Typical SCORE clients are people looking to start a business or those ready to take their existing business to the next level. "The type of assistance businesses are looking for is as varied as their numbers," said seasoned SCORE counselor Dick Wadley. This includes everything from what type of legal entity they should be, to financing issues, to development of a marketing plan.


Wadley's 38-year professional background includes accounting, auditing, business planning, human resources, board governance, cash flow management and more. He was also the vice president of Sunset Life Insurance.


"Businesses have an outstanding fix on their products and services," said Wadley, one of about a half-dozen local SCORE counselors. He said counselors provide assistance for entrepreneurs' short suits.


Contacting a SCORE counselor (360.754.6320) is easy and not a big commitment of time. Clients typically meet with a counselor just once or twice.


For more involved cases, the Small Business Development Center steps in. These two organizations, as well as the EDC's Business Resource Center and PTAC (for government contracting), are all located at the EDC and work closely together.


"I get to share my expertise with people and help them reach the next step on their path," shared Wadley when asked what he likes best about being a SCORE counselor. If you have interest in sharing your expertise and years of experience, contact Tiffany Scroggs.

Michael Cade!


"We knew what an outstanding individual he is," shared EDC Board President Sandra Miller, "but now the rest of the community does too!"


EDC's Executive Director Michael Cade is being recognized for his extraordinary leadership in tackling community and economic development initiatives.


Leadership Thurston County has selected Michael for the 2012 Distinguished Leader Award. Accolades will be bestowed on him at a sold out February 15th event at Saint Martin's.


"On behalf of the EDC Board I extend congratulations and thanks to Michael for his initiative, inspiration and community impact,"
said Miller.

SB2Extraordinary Leadership Conference



Tuesday, February 28th

Great Wolf Lodge

8:30am - 5pm

Transform your organization, your community and your own personal leadership skills from ordinary to extraordinary.


Keynote Presentations

World-class Workshops


Expert Panels 

Conference Gift

The Leadership Playbook


Leadership Tracks:

 Leaving a Legacy: Personal Leadership Excellence

~ ~ ~

Innovative Connections: Creating Win/Win Strategic Partnerships

~ ~ ~

Positive Influence: Building Organizational Cultures that Gets Results


Visit the website

for more information.


This event is hosted by the Excellence Project and sponsored in part by the Thurston EDC.




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