What will be in store locally when seafood producer Keyport LLC relocates its corporate offices from Seattle’s Shilshole neighborhood to its new location on 5th Avenue South in Edmonds?
As the nerve center of this multi-national producer of King, Snow and Dungeness crab and other wild seafood, Keyport’s main office will bring a workforce of up to 20 account executives and other professional employees, the promise of some new entry-level jobs and the possibility down the road of local access to their products.
Serving both wholesalers and retailers, Keyport offers a range of bulk and consumer-oriented products, and is always on the lookout for new ideas and offerings, said Matthew Bleeker, Keyport’s director of marketing and product development.
“We’re so excited to be moving up to Edmonds,” Bleeker said. “We feel like the town reflects us and our values. The slower pace, less traffic, beautiful views and a safe, homey feel fit right in with who we are as a business. We’re looking forward to being active and visible in the community, and getting to know the town and the people in it. I can’t imagine a better fit for our company — Edmonds is the perfect place for us.”
Both Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling and Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty expressed delight at the news that Keyport is moving to Edmonds.
“Frankly with the universe of businesses out there, it’s really hard for a smaller community like us to go out and prospect for businesses that we think could theoretically be interested in moving here,” Doherty said. “So what we do is make sure we’re present in the commercial media through advertising to raise awareness about the value of Edmonds. Then when they do start to consider a move (as Keyport has done for several reasons), Edmonds is top of mind in their consideration.
“We’re thrilled that Keyport has chosen Edmonds for their new HQ!” Doherty said.
“I’m very excited about it,” Earling said.
According to Bleeker, while Keyport’s office will be primarily focused on running the day-to-day affairs of a company with facilities on both U.S. coasts and even stretching overseas to Norway, it won’t be all desks and computers.
“We’ll have a test kitchen on site where we’ll work on developing new products,” Bleeker said. “While our kitchen is primarily for developing these, we’re working on ideas including forming focus groups of local residents willing to serve as tasters to help us try things out and give feedback.”
Another idea in the works could be a particular benefit to last-minute meal planners.
According to Bleeker, Keyport is considering an internet ordering system whereby individuals could place an order online and pick it up same day at the Edmonds facility. He says this would include bulk products like boxes of crab legs, as well as some of the company’s consumer-focused selections including Keyport’s King Crab ravioli, wild King Crab mac and cheese, and of course steamed clams and clam chowder.
“We’re not really planning a retail facility as such,” he added. “We’ll only have so much refrigerated space on site, so at this time we don’t envision a huge operation, but I like the chance to bring something special to our neighbors. Think of this more like getting your seafood direct from the distributor.”
In the coming days, Keyport will be working hard knocking out walls, completing the test kitchen, and setting up office space. “We’ll have a sign outside to let you know we’re there, but don’t expect a big splash,” added Bleeker. “Our goal is to fit in with the community, reflect its values, and add to the positive vibe of this great place.”
— Story and photo by Larry Vogel