New steel shop takes shape near airport
Saturday, February 5, 2011
EAST WENATCHEE — So you need a truck-load of 8-inch angle irons, and you need ’em quick. A new business under construction near Pangborn Memorial Airport will likely have the answer to your problem.
Columbia River Steel Supply, an expansion of 40-year-old Moses Lake Steel Supply, is just starting to erect its new 14,000-square-foot building on a 3-acre tract in the Batterman Industrial Park. Projected costs are a little over $1 million.
The business, expected to open in early April, will feature a fully stocked steel warehouse that includes sheet-plate products, structural beams, rebar, fabrication, hot roll rounds, pipes and tubing, nuts and bolts and tons — literally — of other metal products and services. Anywhere from seven to 10 employees are expected to be hired.
“We’re a small, family-owned company that focuses on customer service first,” says general manager Steve Rimple. “We’ve always loved the Wenatchee community and have had close ties with it for almost 60 years. We see opening here as a kind of coming home.”
Rimple’s grandfather, Monte Holm, first eyed Wenatchee back in 1954 as a possible location for his metal scrapyard. He eventually located in Moses Lake, but over the decades visited and re-visited the Wenatchee area, expanded his business contacts and made loads of friends.
“I remember traveling with my grandfather to Wenatchee on many weekends,” said Rimple. “We’d stay at the old Chieftain motel — it was my grandpa’s favorite place — and he’d go out back and watch the trains go past. Big, massive hunks of metal rolling by. He really loved that.”
Rimple said his company had been looking for an opportunity to expand into the Wenatchee area. It came two years ago when another steel supplier and fabricator shut its doors. “We were ready to make the move,” he said.
But doesn’t the slumping national economy make it a lousy time to open a new business, particularly one dependent on the construction industry?
“Contractors will be only a part of our business,” said Rimple. “Fruit packing companies, other businesses — and even homeowners — can use our products and fabrication services.”
Besides, he added, “you can’t sit on your hands anymore and wait for change. You’ve got to take steps to move forward. That’s our plan in East Wenatchee.”
Info: Columbia River Steel Supply is a sister company of Moses Lake Steel Supply. For now, contact owners and sales reps at 765-1741, or visit moseslakesteel.com.
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