Columbia Industries has added another business to its
portfolio of profit-making enterprises to support its mission
to serve hundreds of Tri-Citians with disabilities.
The Kennewick nonprofit announced it purchased Harmon
Express, a Lewiston, Idaho-based FedEx Ground independent provider. The deal
closed on Nov. 10. Terms were not disclosed.
Harmon Express is now rebranded as CI
Express Inc. and services delivery routes in Pullman, Moscow, Idaho, as well as
rural communities in Washington and Oregon.
The delivery deal is the latest in a series of
purchases that brought businesses ventures into the Columbia Industries family.
Collectively, they generate revenue to support its day center, training
programs, job placement and other services.
The all-cash deals were funded with proceeds from an
insurance settlement, as well as the sale of real estate, said Brian McDermott,
president and chief executive officer. There is no debt.
The settlement stems from a refrigeration
system failure at a Columbia Industries packing site nearly a decade ago. The
failure forced the agency to shut down the operation. McDermott said the
board set the money aside while it developed a strategic plan to boost
Columbia Industries’ cash flow to support operations.
Columbia Industries previously
acquired four Round Table Pizza restaurants and Paradise
Bottled Water using a mix of settlement funds and real estate
Columbia Industries operates the businesses as for-tax
enterprises, using after-tax profits to support programs that
help people with disabilities and barriers to employment live fuller
“CI Express is expected to provide important cash flow
support to the very substantial expansion of our mission
programs,” McDermott said in a press release.
Columbia Industries has expanded its offerings in the
past year to include Opportunity Kitchen, a 12-week program that equips clients
to work in the hospitality and restaurant industries, and Empowerment Place, a
drop-in center that links individuals with housing, employment, food benefits,
transportation and other necessities of life. It is housed at the Columbia
Industries complex at 900 S. Dayton St., near Kennewick High School.
The restaurants and bottled water and delivery services
join an existing lineup of for-profit businesses that support its primary
Columbia Industries reported expenditures of
nearly $2 million in 2017, according to its most recent financial
report to the IRS.
Formed in 1963 as the United Cerebral Palsy Association
of Benton and Franklin Counties, the organization adopted its present name
in 1981 to reflect its expanded mission to provide jobs and services
to those with disabilities.
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