With a ceremonial groundbreaking attended by local officials and members of the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce Friday morning, Stihl Northwest celebrated the beginning of work to build a new distribution hub at the Port of Centralia.
For the past 40 years, Stihl Northwest has operated locally at a facility on Hamilton Road in Chehalis. It is one of 11 U.S. distributors.
“We feel like we had a bond with this community and are happy to stay in Lewis County,” said Dave Warren, director of branch operations, Friday morning.
The Chehalis facility currently has 35 employees, he said. The new facility at the Port of Centralia is expected to be 100,000 square feet, with room to grow to 240,000 square feet in future phases of development, he added.
Part of the reason for moving to the Port of Centralia was the availability of space to grow, Warren said.
“The port provided a great opportunity for our new home,” he said.
Warren said the first phase of the expansion is scheduled to be finished in June 2020.
Warren noted that Stihl has roots in Lewis County, and was started by loggers in East Lewis County. The Lewis County facility distributes products to Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.
“We’re excited to see they chose to stay in Lewis County,” said Alicia Bull, executive director of the chamber of commerce.
Bull and board members of the chamber of commerce attended the event, as well as elected officials including Port of Centralia board member Julie Shaffley, Centralia City Councilor Peter Abbarno, state Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, and Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia.