Emily’s Chocolates takes international stage
AMES International making sweet, global splash
Consumers in Southeast Asia are looking to satisfy a sweet (and salty) tooth. A deal between AMES International and Tmall will make that easier.
Fife-based AMES is the parent company of Emily’s Chocolates. During a May ceremony at the World Trade Center Tacoma, the company signed an agreement with Tmall, a Chinese-language website for business-to-consumer online retail (think Amazon) operated by the Alibaba Group, to continue to grow the product line.
Consumers in China are looking for high-quality U.S. products, and Emily’s Chocolates fits the bill. Established in 1987 the family-run business has become a prominent supplier of top-quality chocolate products across the U.S. and one of the largest nut roasters on the West Coast.
AMES CEO George Paulose immigrated to Fife from India in the 1960s. He created AMES International to support his growing family, including daughters Amy and Emily. As children, they helped out on the manufacturing floor.
Today, Amy Paulose is president of AMES International. She’s worked to take the local company her father built from the ground up to the international stage, and China and Southeast Asia are key to her plan. Over the next five years, the company’s export business is expected to surpass national sales, and AMES anticipates expanding its team to support the Emily’s brand. The company will tap into a wide local pool of talent with expertise in logistics, operations, product development and marketing.
At present, the company employs a staff of 45, which swells to around 60 during peak production times.
Supportive business environment
Over the past 30-plus years, support from the City of Fife and local business community has helped put AMES on the map, Paulose said. “Fife and Pierce County are very supportive of our business and trade. We’ve seen the evolution and feel the excitement.”
“AMES International has certainly proven that a small family business can grow into an international player, right here in Fife, by utilizing our proximity to the Port of Tacoma and the world,” said Fife Mayor Kim Roscoe. “It has been truly inspiring to watch them flourish and prosper, all the while being good community stewards. We can’t wait to see what they do next.”
Paulose was a student of former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma when he was a professor in the University of Puget Sound business department. “I fondly recall his goal to make Tacoma the ‘City of Destiny,’ and I am encouraged to see the community is moving in that direction,” she said. “The quality of life, and diversity of businesses and community members make it a thriving place to run a business.”
Goodwill helps meet need for warehouse and logistics workers
This is part of an ongoing series about programs and resources in Tacoma-Pierce County to help businesses grow.
Distribution and logistics are booming in Tacoma-Pierce County, and that means more jobs to fill. Finding and keeping the right people is a challenge. Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region is working to develop a pipeline of entry-level talent to help meet the needs of the growing sectors.
“When we met with the EDB and Pierce County late last year, we asked what fields and industries they projected to have the greatest labor needs over the near term,” said Mike Shields, Goodwill director of Corporate Partnerships. “When they responded with logistics, we knew Goodwill could play a role in meeting that need.”
Created and developed with input from local employers, Goodwill’s fast-paced, 10-week Warehouse & Logistics Training Program provides entry-level and career advancement skills for the manufacturing, warehouse, transportation and logistics field. Classes are taught at Goodwill’s Milgard Work Opportunity Center by Tacoma Community College faculty and include interactive video technology that connects students in Tacoma and at the Longview Work Opportunity Center. Small class size allows for loads of hands-on support. There’s no charge to participate, eliminating a potential barrier between good workers and jobs.
Placement assistance is also provided. Of the 1,298 program participants to date, 1,003 have graduated and more than that have landed jobs. (Some secure employment on their own before completing the program.)
Local business participation is key to the program’s success. More than 50 companies partner with the training program and also comprise its advisory board.
“I’m a big fan,” said Judi Griffin, director of logistics for Tacoma-based Burkhart Dental Supply. Over the last five years, the company has hired eight program graduates at its Lakewood distribution center. “This has been a great way for us to find associates who are eager to work and already have some training in basic warehouse functions. With the current low unemployment rates, we have to work harder to find good candidates for our open positions. This program has really given us an advantage.”
If your company is interested in being a partner or you’d like more information about the program, contact Garuba Akinniyi, Goodwill’s Distance Learning Programs coordinator. Learn more about Goodwill’s programs and services.
Note: Goodwill is also working to meet the need for workers in another booming employment sector-health care. The organization is initiating a pilot program in partnership with JPMorgan-Chase for high school students who live in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood who have an interest in health care careers.
According to an independent report released in early June by Gov. Jay Inslee and members of the Choose Washington New Middle-of-the-Market Airplane (NMA) Council, Washington State can’t be beat when it comes to aerospace design and manufacturing.
The Aerospace Competitive Economics Study, conducted by the Teal Group, ranked all 50 states across 41 metrics, measuring factors such as cost structure, skilled labor availability, global trade connectivity and tax climate.
The Choose Washington NMA Council was created by Gov. Inslee to lead a multi-pronged statewide campaign to demonstrate Washington’s position as the site with the lowest risk and highest return on Boeing‘s potential investment to design, produce and assemble the NMA airplane.
Welcome, new college presidents
The EDB welcomes new leaders at two Pierce County colleges.
Dr. Ivan Harrell is the new leader at Tacoma Community College. Prior to being selected the institution’s 11th president, Harrell was executive vice president of academic and student affairs at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. He was selected following an extensive national search.
Dr. Lin Zhou is the new president of Bates Technical College. Zhou has been with Bates since 2013, and was most recently vice president of institutional effectiveness and student success. She is the institution’s first female president, and the first female Chinese immigrant to serve as president at a public two-year college in Washington state.
The EDB looks forward to partnering with you both.