Williams Inland Distributors Inc., of Spokane, has bought the former Empire Beverage Inc. building in Spokane Valley.
Williams Inland, an ice-cream distributor, moved its offices to the 28,000-square-foot building, at 1505 N. Bradley, late last month and plans to move its warehouse there next week, says President and co-owner Roger Williams. The company has renovated the warehouse there by adding a freezer, cold room, and the electrical equipment needed to maintain the freezers temperature at minus 20 degrees and the cold room at 35 degrees.
The company spent more than $3 million to buy and renovate the building, he says. Carstens Management Co., of Spokane, handled the purchase.
Williams Inland had been leasing a 3,000-square-foot building, at 603 N. Havana, for its offices and a 16,000-square-foot warehouse along Olive Avenue. The company plans to continue leasing another building at 320 N. Lee, he says.
Moving to the former Empire Beverages building will give Williams Inland more space and allow it to consolidate its operations, Williams says.
Williams says the distributorship has enjoyed increased sales every year since he launched it in 1991, and last year, notched $28 million in annual sales, up about 5 percent from 2002.
He expects sales to increase another 5 percent to 10 percent this year.
Williams Inland distributes several ice-cream brands to restaurants, ice-cream shops, supermarkets, and other retail outlets within Eastern Washington, North Idaho, Montana, and in northeastern Oregon.
The company has operations in Yakima, Wenatchee, the Tri-Cities, and Helena, Missoula, Billings, Bozeman, and Kalispell, Mont.
Overall, its work force fluctuates between about 80 and 110 employees, about 75 percent of whom are in Spokane.
Williams is the majority owner of the company. His sons, Wes, Tony, and Travis and stepson Joe Cummins also have ownership interests and work there.
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