Spokane Journal of Business

Vandervert erects new facility for F.O. Berg

Project on Euclid Avenue estimated to cost about $1.3 million when finished

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Of the Journal of Business

Vandervert Construction Inc., of Spokane, has begun work on a 23,000-square-foot building in the Spokane Valley for F.O. Berg Co., where that Spokane-based company will focus on manufacturing industrial fabric items.

The new facility, at 16124 E. Euclid, is expected to cost $1.3 million, including the price of the land, says Bill Gabrio, F.O. Bergs president. Work on the project started in November, and the building should be ready for use by March, depending on the weather, he says.

Gabrio says the move was prompted by a shift in focus for the venerable company. F.O. Berg got its start in the 1880s selling canvas goods such as tents and awnings, but was also a longtime retailer of upper-end patio furniture here, Gabrio says. The company is now getting out of the retail patio furniture business, and will concentrate on producing items from industrial fabrics.

Selling patio furniture generated only about 25 percent of the companys business, Gabrio says, and the combination of manufacturing and retail activity wasnt always easy, so the company decided to return its attention to manufacturing. Eliminating the retail aspect of its business took away the need for the higher-traffic location F.O. Berg now occupies at 410 E. Trent, he says.

Helping draw attention to the manufacturing portion of the business is a new product F.O. Berg developed and now makes: coil caps, which are covers to protect rolls of sheet metal during shipping. F.O. Berg developed the special covers for Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Co. and patented them. It has entered into a manufacturing and distribution agreement with Sonoco Products Co., a South Carolina-based company with a branch in Spokane. Sonoco will distribute the coil caps around the world, Gabrio says.

F.O. Berg will continue to make and sell residential and commercial awnings, banners, tarpaulins, and covers for industrial uses, along with shelters, such as hunting tents.

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