SanMar plans to relocate 400 jobs from Preston to Issaquah
August 30, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
The apparel company SanMar plans to relocate about 400 jobs to Issaquah from Preston in the months ahead.
SanMar purchased a hillside office building behind The Home Depot last month. The company intends to complete some minor upgrades to the space and then occupy the building by December.
The relocation encompasses the front-office departments housed at the Preston headquarters, such as accounting, distribution, marketing, product design and more. The company plans to maintain the existing distribution facility in Preston.
SanMar supplies apparel and accessories to companies for embroidery and other embellishment. Clients include household names such as Columbia Sportswear and Nike.
“This is a great opportunity for us to have more space, a big block,” SanMar Vice President Jordan Lott said. “It creates really no additional commute time for the vast majority of our employees. It really is an opportunity to have nicer office space and not disrupt the commutes of the vast majority of our employees. It was kind of a win-win all around.”
SanMar purchased the Eastpointe Corporate Center for $32 million last month. The glass-sheathed office building encompasses 156,323 square feet — more room for the burgeoning company.
“We felt like we’ve been a good member of the community and stewards of the business,” Lott said. “We are very excited to be more a part of the Issaquah community, and we are actively looking at how to get involved and be good corporate citizens.”
The company built the Preston facility in 1989 and occupied the space the following year. SanMar plans to lease the office portion after the relocation to Issaquah is complete.
“We are growing out of the building, which is a good problem to have, but it functionally is still a great space and we’ll continue to utilize the warehouse portion of it,” Lott said.
SanMar also operates facilities in Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas.
Lott said company executives considered sites throughout the Puget Sound region before opting to relocate the corporate headquarters to Issaquah from unincorporated East King County.
“Geographic desirability based on where people are currently commuting from to us,” he said. “We wanted an abundance of parking, which this building has. We were looking at, obviously, a larger block of space. You put all of those things together, and this was a building that worked. It was convenient for us.”
SanMar also supports more than 230 telecommuting customer-service employees and sales representatives.
“It’s more than just about the jobs,” city Economic Development Manager Dan Trimble said.
Issaquah also gains the prestige as the headquarters for a respected company.
“Whenever there is information or news about them, it’ll be ‘Issaquah-based SanMar,’” Trimble said. “We like that, especially when they’re a great company, like Costco or SanMar. I think it’s a good fit for our community.”
Costco is headquartered in Issaquah. The company employs more people — about 2,700 — than any other business in the city.
Marty Lott founded SanMar as a college project at the University of Washington 40 years ago. Nowadays, the Lott family continues to run the company.
“We love the industry that we’re in,” Jordan Lott said. “We feel like our customers are great businesspeople and incredibly loyal, so continuing to give them great service is what we do today and it’s what we foresee in the future.”
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.