WENATCHEE, Wash. — Stemilt Growers Inc., one of North America’s largest non-citrus tree fruit companies, is building a new corporate office building north of Wenatchee.
The three story, 42,700-square-foot building is going up on the western edge of the company’s largest packing plant in the Olds Station area just north of town.
“We want to consolidate and be closer to our packing and operations,” said Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director.
The company’s current corporate office is about a mile away in a 26,000-square-foot building that was the regional office of the U.S. Forest Service prior to Stemilt buying it in 1995. That building was sold last spring and Stemilt has been leasing back part of it for use until its new building is completed this April or May, Pepperl said.
Some of the company’s corporate personnel have been at the former Dovex Fruit Co. plant just south and across U.S. Highway 2/97 from the Stemilt Olds Station plant. Stemilt acquired Dovex in March of 2010.
The ground floor of the new building will be a cafeteria and break room serving the building’s 125 administrative employees and hundreds more from the packing plant, Pepperl said. The upper two floors of the 75-foot-tall building will house administration, sales, marketing, research and development, horticulture and information technology.
Construction began in September. Blodgett Construction Associates Inc., Wenatchee, is the general contractor. Pepperl would not disclose construction costs.
With the Dovex acquisition in 2010, Stemilt was close to 20 million boxes of apples, pears, cherries, stone fruit and blueberries in production, Pepperl said at that time.
Beside marketing fruit from independent growers, Stemilt has more than 17,000 acres of its own fruit and fruit from marketing partners, including Douglas Fruit Co., Pasco, and Peshastin Hi-Up, northwest of Wenatchee, Pepperl has said.
Stemilt was founded by the late Tom Mathison in 1964. It is family owned. It is the world’s largest shipper of fresh market sweet cherries and acquired California cherry producer Chinchiolo Fruit, of Stockton, in 2003. Stemilt packs, ships and sells a large percentage of Washington’s organic apples and pears and has about 1,500 full-time employees.