The birthplace of business legends.
Some of our business legends are indeed household names; others may not be known beyond the borders of a city, but loved just as much. We’re proud to showcase just a few of the many movers and shakers that call Washington home, true American success stories and yes, legends in the business world. If we were to include all of our legendary businesses in these pages, the Internet would literally seize up due to lack of remaining bandwidth.
Sure, we’re name-dropping a bit here, but we’re very proud of the many companies in Washington State who have become well known and highly regarded around the world. If you’ve had the pleasure to patronize any of these businesses or have purchased their products or services, then you know that they deserve the honor of being called a Washington State Business Legend.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans have ordered from this online retailing giant and its operations cover the globe, offering consumers everything from clothing and appliances to electronics and oh yes, books.
One of the largest aerospace companies in the world, Boeing has been a Washington State legend since 1916, turning out more than 14,000 commercial and military aircraft as well as countless rockets and space exploration vehicles.
Rarely does a confectionery company hit on an idea that not only becomes a treasured part of a community’s culture, but becomes a worldwide phenomenon, exported to 35 countries. Not to mention that it’s something they’ve been doing for the last century.
With its seemingly simple strategy for keeping costs low and passing the savings onto members, Costco has changed the face of retailing around the world with its 590+ stores in eight countries.
With U.S. made clothing as rugged as the pioneer spirit that created them more than a century ago, Filson continues to deliver on its promise of top quality clothing and accessories for those who demand the very best.
A desire to create a lasting memorial to a beloved brother creates one of the most highly respected and renowned medical research centers in the world, The Hutch.
A juggernaut in the computing industry, Microsoft products can be found on 95% of all personal computers. But if it weren’t for Trac-O-Data, you may have never heard of Windows or Word.
You may not know the name, but you have undoubtedly passed their products on the highways and byways of the world, including Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF and Leyland medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
Sometimes a good idea becomes a great one through a chance encounter. Once content to sell coffee beans out of a few stores in the Northwest, Starbucks went on to create an international culture of coffee because of one man’s trip to Milan, Italy.
What could one of the premier tropical brands possibly have to do with Washington State? Find out why Tommy holds a special place in “his” heart for Seattle.
Those all too familiar brown vans have a long history that dates back to 1907. But did you know this legendary logistics company got its start under a Seattle sidewalk?
From its humble beginnings as a sawmill and lumber operation, Weyerhaeuser has led the way in creating timber as a crop over the last 100 years, including the idea of tree farms and sustainable forestry.
* Members of the Century Club.
With our legendary culture of innovation and highly competitive spirit, it’s not hard to see why so many Washington companies are known throughout the country. Business is alive and well here in the Pacific Northwest and the state is a leader in creating companies that are not only well known, but which have been fixtures of the economy for decades, if not generations.
The seventh-largest U.S. carrier, Alaska Airlines has carved out a successful niche in one of the most competitive industries on earth. They’ve done it through superior customer service, sensible expansion and an independent spirit that many Washington companies exhibit.
A name synonymous with the great outdoors, the company that gave us the down parka has gone on to become a household name and highly valued brand, not only in outdoor gear and clothing, but home decor and other lifestyle categories.
The creators of Aplets, Cotlets and other wonderful confections that have been popular since 1918.
From a single shoe store in Seattle, a company redefines the very meaning of superior customer service, even allowing customers to return products they don’t even sell.
The makers of jerky, pepperoni and sausage hit upon their secret to success early on: hard work, bold risk taking and a can-do attitude that has seen the company through good times and bad.
The nation’s largest retailing co-op, REI got its start because one mountain climber couldn’t find a high quality ice axe at an affordable price, leading to a dynasty in outdoor gear and apparel.
For more than a century now, Roman Meal has been turning out bread products, not only from their factory in Tacoma, Washington, but 90 contract bakeries across the country and the world. Though the company has grown, it is still family owned and operated.
Available in more than a dozen states and many parts of Asia, Tim’s Cascade Style Potato Chips have carved out a niche in the highly competitive snack foods space through a laser focus on freshness, flavor and crunch.
A better way to search for your dream home. Whether you’re buying or renting, Zillow makes shopping for a new place a snap, thanks to its 110 million+ listings and add-value services.
* Members of the Century Club
Sure, you may have never heard of these companies (yet), but if you end up doing business in and with Washington State, you’ll want to know more about them as they have become beloved institutions with residents and visitors alike.
Bartell Drugs has been part of the Washington business community since 1890 when George H. Bartell bought his first pharmacy after being working there for only two weeks. Today, the company has 58 stores in three counties and is a proud member of the Century Club.
With 70 stores in 12 states, Ben Bridge Jewelers has grown to become the 12th largest jewelry retailer in the country and one of the most trusted and respected names in the jewelry business.
A farmer owned and operated cooperative, Darigold has been a favorite source for dairy products for almost a hundred years and has expanded its reach to five states and counting.
A lot of things have changed since 1890 when the moving and storage company first opened its doors for business in Washington State. But the company still gives each of its trucks names, just as it did its horses back at the turn of the 19th century.
Want to know what the Creature From the Black Lagoon, a piano and Dances and Wolves have to do with clams? Find out the story behind one of the state’s most beloved seafood restaurants and its founder, Ivar Haglund.
A classic David and Goliath story, as a local hardware company battles the retailing giants for supremacy. Its weapons of choice: superior customer service and unparalleled knowledge of the more than 75,000 items they stock.
If it glows, they carry it. For more than a century, Pacific Lamp & Supply has been lighting the way in the Pacific Northwest. It is the oldest specialty lighting company in the United States.
Venture to the Pike Place Market and you’ll find a small bakery that has just celebrated its 100th year in business, no small feat. Its loyal customers will gladly tell you that the secret to their success is their fresh pastries and “to die for” sandwiches.
Overcoming internment and relocation during World War II, the Moriguchi family has created an icon of the region’s diversity as well as its love of fresh foods from all over the world, Uwajimaya.
* Members of the Century Club
Some legends aren’t as well known in this world. They are still perking below the surface, reinventing the world around them without a lot of fanfare. Their work is their own reward, and perhaps somewhere down the road, they will be the next Amazon, Boeing or Starbucks. But in our eyes they are already giants, clearly demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit and culture of innovation Washington is known for.
Their innovative biomass cookstoves are designed to save lives and trees while creating manufacturing jobs in third world countries, all from their small shop in an old ski factory on Vashon Island.
The world leader in lighted mirrors and mirror TV technology, Electric Mirror has brought a new level of technological luxury to hotels, resorts and homes throughout the world with its innovative product line.
If you have a love of pop culture then you probably already know about this toy and collectibles company that ships two million units annually of bobbleheads, vinyls, plushes and more. Who knows? You may even be one of their “funatics.”
Created by two grannies from Yelm, Ice Chips are quickly finding their way to national fame after legendary business growth, fueled by an appearance on ABC television’s, Shark Tank.
Four hungry boys led the Svensons to recreate the pizzeria, with custom-made gourmet pies being served up in just three minutes.
Pete Nelson has turned a love of treehouses into an empire, complete with a treehouse construction and supply business, several books, a retreat in the trees and a popular TV show.
Tapping the public’s nostalgia for days gone by, Mike Bourgeios turned his bottling hobby into a craft bottling plant that produces some of America’s most treasured soft drinks from the past.
With more than a hundred products on the market and a fervent dedication to innovation and excellence, it’s small wonder why SaltWorks is the #1 seller of gourmet and artisan salt in the world.
1855 – Laird Norton Co., Seattle
1864 – Port Blakely Cos., Seattle
1868 – Bonney-Watson Co., Sea-Tac
1869 – Baker Boyer Bank, Walla Walla
1882 – MultiCare Health System
1883 – Jensen Distribution Services, Spokane
1883 – Little Skookum Shellfish Growers, Shelton
1884 – Witherspoon Kelley, Spokane
1885 – Jack’s Country Store, Ocean Park
1886 – Merrill & Ring, Seattle
1887 – Owens Meats, Cle Elum
1888 – Burkhart Dental Supply, Tacoma
1889 – Avista Corporation, Spokane
1889 – Clise Properties, Inc., Seattle
1889 – Holaday-Parks Fabricators, Tukwila
1889 – Lane Powell PC, Seattle
1889 – Seattle Boiler Works, Seattle
1889 – Seattle-Tacoma Box, Kent
1890 – Banner Bank, Walla Walla
1890 – Hansen Bros. Moving & Storage, Seattle
1890 – Haskell Corp., Bellingham
1890 – Merchant’s Café, Seattle
1890 – Merrill Gardens, Seattle
1890 – Simpson Lumber Co., Tacoma
1890 – Stanwood Hotel, Stanwood
1890 – Taylor Shellfish Farms, Shelton
1891 – Minnick-Hayner, Walla Walla
1891 – Franciscan Health Systems, Tacoma
1891 – Washington Shoe Company, Kent
1892 – The H.O. Seiffert, Co., Everett
1893 – Newman Burrows, Tukwila
1894 – Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Tacoma
1894 – Knutzen Farm, Burlington
1895 – Aldrich’s Market, Port Townsend
1896 – Fitterer’s, Inc., Ellensburg
1896 – Northwest Laboratories of Seattle, Inc., Seattle
1896 – Rainier Industries, Tukwila
1896 – The Seattle Times Co., Seattle
1897 – C.C. Filson, Co., Seattle
1897 – Captain’s Nautical Supplies, Seattle
1898 – Bargreen Coffee Co., Inc., Everett
1898 – Dunbar Jewelers, Inc., Yakima
1898 – Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Co., Enumclaw
1898 – Olympia Oyster Co., Shelton
1898 – Stanwood-Camano News, Inc., Stanwood
1899 – John Peth & Sons, Bow
1899 – Ye Old Curiosity Shop, Seattle
1900 – Merlino Foods, Seattle
1900 – Ewing & Clark, Seattle
1900 – Hallide Machinery Company, Inc., Enumclaw
1900 – Mutual Materials, Bellevue
1900 – PSF Industries, Seattle
1900 – Ritzville Drug Co., Ritzville
1900 – TW Carrol & Co., Tukwila
1900 – Weyerhaeuser, Seattle
1901 – Campbell’s Resort, Lake Chelan
1901 – Nordstrom, Seattle
1901 – Star Rentals, Seattle
1902 – Black Diamond Bakery, Black Diamond
1902 – State Bank Northwest, Spokane Valley
1902 – Turner & Pease, Seattle
1902 – Washington Trust Bank, Spokane
1903 – Arlington Hardware & Lumber, Inc., Arlington
1903 – Gray Lumber Co., Tacoma
1903 – Helliesen Lumber & Supply, Yakima
1903 – Lucks Food Decorating Company – Tacoma
1903 – Kaufman Scroggs Co., Aberdeen
1903 – Keyes Packaging Corp., Wenatchee
1903 – Security State Bank, Centralia
1903 – The Napoleon Co., Bellevue
1904 – Karr Tuttle Campbell, Seattle
1904 – N.A. Degerstrom, Inc., Seattle
1904 – Seattle Railcar Company (Nucor Steel), Seattle
1904 – The Bartell Drug Co., Seattle
1905 – Automatic Wilbert Vault Co., Inc., Tacoma
1905 – Dennis Company, Raymond
1905 – Paccar, Inc., Bellevue
1905 – Petersen Brothers Inc., Sumner
1905 – The Wenatchee World, Wenatchee
1906 – Hedlin’s Farm, Mt. Vernon
1906 – Mills Bros. Menswear, Wenatchee
1906 – Olympia Federal Savings & Loan, Olympia
1907 – Ballard Sheet Metal Works, Inc., Seattle
1907 – Bekins Moving & Storage Co., Mountlake Terrace
1907 – Dunn Lumber, Seattle
1907 – Markey Machinery Co. Inc., Seattl
1907 – Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel Co., Seattle
1908 – Bank of Fairfield, Fairfield
1908 – Commercial Creamery Co., Spokane
1908 – K&H Printers-Lithographers, Inc., Everett
1908 – Kitsap Bank, Kitsap County
1908 – Lauck’s Testing Laboratories Inc., Seattle
1909 – Daily Ellensburg Record, Inc. Ellensburg
1909 – Johnson Cox Co., Inc., Tacoma
1909 – Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Seattle
1909 – Wilcox Family Farms, Roy
1910 – Albert Jensen & Son, Inc., Friday Harbor
1910 – Farmers New World Life Insurance, Mercer Island
1910 – Gebbers Farm, Inc., Brewster
1910 – North Star Glove Co., Tacoma
1910 – Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Seattle
1910 – Washington Fruit & Produce Co., Yakima
1911 – Kelleher Motor Co., Ellensburg
1911 – Redmond State Bank
1911 – R.H. Brown, Co., Seattle
1912 – Ben Bridge Jewelers, Seattle
1912 – Blackstock Lumber Co., Inc. Seattle
1912 – Fox’s Gem Shop, Seattle
1912 – Kristoferson Farm, Camano Island
1912 – National Frozen Foods Corp., Seattle
1912 – Northern Fish Company, Tacoma
1912 – Pacific Lamp & Supply Co., Seattle
1912 – Perkins, Coie, Seattle
1912 – Rainier Connect, Tacoma
1912 – Roman Meal Company, Tacoma
1912 – Simpson Door Company, McCleary
1912 – Three Girls Bakery, Seattle
1913 – Alaskan Copper Companies, Inc., Kent
1913 – Alderbrook Resort & Spa, Union
1913 – Buffelen Woodworking, Tacoma
1913 – Hoffman Music Co., Spokane
1913 – Kern Funeral Home, Mount Vernon
1913 – Marine Supply and Hardware, Anacortes
1913 – Moss Adams, Seattle
1913 – Six Robblees, Inc., Tukwila
1914 – Apple King LLC, Yakima
1914 – Brown & Haley, Tacoma
1914 – Peter Pan Seafoods
1915 – Farmer’s State Bank, Winthrop
1915 – National Sign Corporation, Seattle
1916 – The Boeing Company, Seattle
1917 – Seattle Lighting, Seattle