A Pasco company that fabricates and installs pipe systems for farms, wineries and industry is making a bold bet on the future.
Allynda and Kyle Callies, owners of Callies Welding and Fabrication in Pasco, are finalizing a deal to buy the last two developable at the Foster Wells Business Park from the Port of Pasco for their growing business.
The $450,000 agreement includes a 2.3-acre lot bordering a 2.7-acre site near Rock Placement Company and Kenyon Zero Storage on Industrial Drive.
The couple will build a shop and other buildings as well as a storage yard at Foster Wells, which is at the north end of the Pasco Processing Center industrial of complex on Highway 395 east of the Tri-Cities Airport.
The port created the industrial park to serve food processors and other businesses that support the agriculture industry. Foster Wells, with smaller lots, was designed to serve supportive industries.
Collectively, the park is home to processors, cold storage, landscape firms and building contractors, among others. With the final lots sold, the port is moving to establish Reimann Industrial Park on 300 acres it purchased from Balcom and Moe.
Callies Welding and Fabrication is just the type of business port officials had in mind for its business parks – local, growing and in need of land to build their businesses on.
Randy Hayden, the port’s executive director, called it an economic development win.
“We are happy to be able to support local, growing small businesses and have land availability,” he said.
Callies is all of those.
Kyle Callies is a Richland native who pursued welding at Columbia Basin College. He traveled the country working on pipeline projects. He met Allynda, who is from Nebraska, in a restaurant while traveling to a job on the East Coast.
They married in 2010 and made the Tri-Cities home. Callies Welding and Fabrication began as a mom and pop business in their pole barn. Allynda Callies credits her husband’s hard work and willingness to go out on a limb for the company’s growth.
The barn-based business became a proper LLC and leased shop space on East Commercial Street near Oregon Avenue in 2016 – but only because the port didn’t have land with enough power to support welding at the time.
The couple have since expanded to three shop spaces in their Commercial Street building. But there’s no room to expand, no additional power to support equipment and not much space for their trucks, excavators and cranes.
The business employs 10 to 20 welders, fabricators and other staff, depending on the season and the nature of the job.
“We have completely run out of room,” said Allynda Callies, who oversees the office.
The new quarters will support growth by providing room to perform larger jobs, she said. One recent job meant working with a 72-inch diameter pipe that arrived in 20-foot lengths.
“Moving and manhandling a pipe that diameter when your bay door is only 12 feet tall is quite a trick,” she said.
Tight quarters and an even tighter storage yard forces staff to move equipment around to complete tasks, which is inefficient.
In 2019, Kyle Callies decided it was time to create a facility that met the needs of the business.
The couple approached the port about the last two Foster Wells sites after concluding they needed to stay close to key vendors in Pasco.
Foster Wells a perfect fit for its location, size and available power, Kyle Callies told the port when he first proposed buying five acres. The project includes a steel shop building, office, employee area, parking, equipment storage and a pipe storage area.
Easy access to highways 12 and 395 were important too. The company serves job sites in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.
Allynda Callies said the couple are pressing ahead with its plans despite the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home Stay Healthy order shut down all nonessential activity, part of the larger effort to contain coronavirus that could chill the economy.
Their business had a strong year in 2019, putting them in a position to survive a slowdown, she said.
“When the economy took a turn, we didn’t really falter,” she said. The company will focus resources on building its new site and will defer investments in trucks and other gear.
“Pipeline is feast or famine. We are conditioned to save through the good times so when the bad times come, you’re set up for that,” she said.
The company is working with Banner Bank to buy the land and is pursuing a Small Business Administration loan to help with construction costs.
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!