Port welcomes new tenant to Pasco Processing Center

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The 250-acre Pasco Processing Center will welcome a new tenant in spring 2017.

Volm Companies Inc. broke ground in August on a 90,000-square-foot, $8.5 million facility in the 5700 block of Industrial Way inside the business park developed by the Port of Pasco.

The company makes mesh bags and other packaging as well as packaging machinery and parts for growers, primarily in the potato and onion industries.

Although headquartered in Wisconsin, Volm is not new to the area.

The Pasco Processing Center’s building will be less than two miles from the company’s existing location at 3405 N. Commercial Ave. in Pasco. While the distance between the addresses isn’t far, the benefits of moving are significant, said Mike Bernatz, chief financial officer for Volm.

The new building will be nearly 25,000 larger, and the proximity to customers in the food processing industry helps Volm in its mission to be the most valued partner to its customers, he said.

“In the fresh produce business, from day to day what’s getting packaged can change dramatically. For us to be that close to the customers and be able to quickly react to their demand is important,” he said. “Not only are we selling them products, we’re providing the post-sale technical support to maintain equipment or tweak things.”

That includes utilizing the Volm Engineering Solutions Team, or VEST, when needed. The company’s group of engineers work with growers and packers on a full range of equipment to get produce from the field to the food shelf, Bernatz explained.

“Some of that equipment is our own self-manufactured equipment, such as weighing and bagging machines, and then we have partner suppliers, for items such as (bag closures) and other vendors like the washing machines for produce,” he said. “We provide all of the equipment, as well as boxes and bags.”

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Jessica Hoefer

Jessica Hoefer

Jessica Hoefer is a freelance writer based in Prosser and a contributor to numerous print and online publications. When she’s not working on a news story, she can be found on the soccer field, at her local library or holed up in her office working on her next Young Adult novel.

View all posts by Jessica Hoefer