prospers with expanded Port site, builds number of family-wage jobs
Port of Walla Walla added a new 7,680 square foot building to Reiff Manufacturing’s airport complex
it set the stage for new efficiency and continued growth
for the fiberglass fabricator.
David Reiff, President and General Manager
of the firm, explains that the $540,000 Port investment
allowed consolidation of all manufacturing processes
to a single site instead of operating from two locations
a “block and a half ” apart.
According to Reiff, having its multiple
building complex in one location added needed efficiencies in the manufacture
of a variety of custom-built products. The mix includes
fiberglass shelters, antenna covers, cisterns and fish
rearing troughs and tanks.
Even though annual sales to worldwide
markets have grown to an estimated $3 million, Reiff
insists his is a “small business.”
Reiff Fiberglass operates with a staff
of 20 people. The total annual payroll is some $700,000.
David Reiff says his family-owned business
is staffed by familyoriented people. “I’d
say most all of our employees are here to earn a salary
that meets a Walla Walla family’s needs.”
It’s not just the individuals who work for the manufacturer who benefit. Reiff is particularly committed to other local
businesses to help make his a success.
“We rely on as many as 100 vendors
on a regular basis - suppliers, electricians, welders
- craftsmen who help us build quality products that
are competitive on an international scale,” Reiff
explains. “And as many as 50 or more of those
are Walla Walla based. It’s just important that
we help each other grow together.”
Reiff Manufacturing was started in 1963
by David’s grandfather, Norwood. Later, his father
Steve Reiff took over the reins. David and his wife,
Michelle, assumed ownership and management of the company
in March, 2011.
A once vacant warehouse
in the Port’s Dell Avenue Industrial Park is now home to a state-of-the-art bottle maker
operated by an international packaging company.
Since February, 2011 the Amcor plant
has been manufacturing PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
bottles for juices produced by Cott in the next-door
plant formerly owned by Cliffstar.
According to Jeremy Larson, site manager
for Amcor, the highly automated plant produces as
many as 6,600 bottles an hour in 64-ounce, 96-ounce
From start to finish, bottles are
seldom, if ever touched by human hands. The sophisticated
system is operated by a two-person crew per shift,
with each keeping a close eye on equipment that’s
finetuned to maintain high speed output with uncompromising
quality. Once wrapped and stacked, the bottles are
stored by the thousands awaiting use by Cott.
Larson says the Walla Walla plant
is one of 78 similar Amcor operations in 13 countries around the world. “We’re
counting on growing our service base beyond Cott’s Walla
Walla plant to other users in nearby Northwest sites,”
Improvements costing an estimated
$100,000 were completed to ready the building for
Amcor. The renovations were funded through an Economic
Development Sales Tax Grant via an agreement between
the Port, Walla Walla County and the City of Walla