Pierce County coffee roaster posts record job growth

A coffee roasting facility in Sumner has earned a top spot in a list of major employers in Pierce County, according to the Economic Development Board (EDB) for Tacoma-Pierce County.

Since its roasting facilities moved to Sumner almost four years ago, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. has added employees at a faster rate than any of the 174 employers on the list, its payroll having risen from 182 to 325, a growth of 79 percent, according to the EDB. The job growth comes in the wake of strong expansion plans that lay behind Green Mountain’s move to Sumner in 2009 when the company bought the Tullys Coffee trademark, supply chain and wholesale coffee business.

“We planned to expand the single serve packs operation,” John Rader, director of operations at the Sumner facility, explained in the EDB’s January newsletter. “We have now become the number-one producer in the country of single serve packs.”

The company’s strongest sales expansion was recorded in 2011, when Fortune magazine named the company second-fastest growing in the United States. Last year, the company, still maintaining strong growth, was listed in 35th place nationally. As sales have soared, an expanding list of employees has followed.

Other strongly growing Pierce County companies in 2012 were Sound Credit Union, which continued to grow following its merger with Watermark Credit Union in 2011, increasing its employees by 71 percent to 173, and Cabinet-maker Pacific Crest Industries (Bellmont Cabinet Co.), based in Sumner, which advanced its employee total to 183, a gain of 62 percent, according to the EDB.

The full list of major employers can be found online at edbtacomapierce.org.