Long-time Ballard company Ocean Beauty relocates to Renton

As Seattle grows and traffic challenges increase some companies are making the decision to leave the city.

One long-time Ballard seafood distribution company, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, just made the move to Renton at 600 Powell Avenue.

The company says the new facility is more than double the space in Ballard, which gives it room to grow, and solves the problem of heavy traffic on its trucking routes.

KIRO7 got a look at the new facility Friday, starting with the salmon fillet line.

“You can see they're very fast and they cut each side,” said Mike Coulston, general manager of the facility.

Then a trim, a quick ride down the line, and into a box the fillets go.

“This particular job right here is for QFC,” Coulston said.

Another room at the facility is dedicated to specialty cuts for restaurants, and part of the facility is used for its fish-smoking operation.

During the off season, the Alaskan sockeye start in a giant freezer at the facility, filled with 150,000 pounds of fish.

It’s kept at 10 degrees below zero. About 10,000 pounds of it gets air-thawed every day, then processed and shipped out.

“When we get into fresh season, that will triple,” Coulston said.

The new Ocean Beauty facility in Renton is fully up and running.

Until a few weeks ago, it was all in Ballard.

Tom Sunderland, the company's vice president of marketing, says relocating
wasn't an easy decision.

“Sure it was tough. It's always hard. We'd been there since 1978, and it is historic to be in Ballard, in the Alaska fish business. But it just didn't make sense anymore economically,” Sunderland said.

The company says it considered remodeling the Ballard location to expand, but at that location its trucks struggled with traffic

“We have trucks going to the airport three times a day,” Sunderland said

From Ballard it could be an hour,” Coulston said, “It was just brutal,” he said. He says the drive to SeaTac from its new Renton facility takes just 10 minutes. Ocean Beauty says the changing Ballard landscape played a role in its decision to relocate.

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“Look at Ballard itself and how many people live in Ballard compared to what it used to be,” Sunderland said. “For us moving here it's a necessary change and it’s a good one and it should be viewed that way -- as a good and positive change.”

One big difference is space. The Renton facility is nearly 90,000 square feet, compared to about 40,000

in Ballard, which was located at 1100 W. Ewing St.

It says now there's no truck backup.

“It's got 11 docks, so there's no waiting!” Sunderland said.

The move brings 130 jobs to Renton and Ocean Beauty says it will be adding more jobs in the summer.
The company's corporate headquarters are still in Ballard.

Ocean Beauty says it’s working with the city of Renton to have an official grand opening soon.

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