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 the 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.
Did you ever hear the sailor’s yarn about a 150-year-old cruise line that found its way to Washington State by way of Alaska? Holland America’s rich maritime history is a perfect fit for a state that has been going to and living off the sea for generations.
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.
A strong indicator of the strength and staying power of any state economy is the number of businesses that have reached the rarified status of being in business not decades, but centuries. Following is a list of 175 companies that have achieved this legendary status, weathering countless changes in markets and historic swings in the economy, demonstrating that they are true Business Legends. If we missed a business, please let us know in an email.
1855 – Laird Norton Co., Seattle – private equity & venture capital
1859 – Providence Health & Services, Renton – healthcare
1864 – Port Blakely Cos., Seattle – land & resource management
1868 – Bonney-Watson Co., Sea-Tac – funeral & crematory services
1869 – Baker Boyer Bank, Walla Walla – financial services
1875 – Lane Powell PC, Seattle – legal services
1882 – MultiCare Health System – healthcare
1883 – Jensen Distribution Services, Spokane – wholesale hardware distributor
1883 – Little Skookum Shellfish Growers, Shelton – seafood purveyor
1884 – Witherspoon Kelley, Spokane – legal services
1885 – Jack’s Country Store, Ocean Park – general mercantile
1886 – Merrill & Ring, Seattle – timber management
1887 – Owens Meats, Cle Elum – butcher
1888 – Burkhart Dental Supply, Tacoma – dental equipment & supplies
1889 – Avista Corporation, Spokane – utility
1889 – Clise Properties, Inc., Seattle – property management
1889 – Foss Maritime, Tacoma – marine transportation and logistics
1889 – Holaday-Parks Fabricators, Tukwila – mechanical contractors
1889 – Seattle Boiler Works, Seattle – metal fabricators
1889 – Seattle-Tacoma Box, Kent – packaging
1889 – The Brick Saloon, Roslyn – food & beverage
1890 – Banner Bank, Walla Walla – financial services
1890 – Spanaway Exchange Tavern – Spanaway
1890 – Hansen Bros. Moving & Storage, Seattle – moving & storage
1890 – Haskell Corp., Bellingham – construction & fabrication
1890 – Merchant’s Café, Seattle – food & beverage
1890 – Merrill Gardens, Seattle – senior living communities
1890 – Stanwood Hotel, Stanwood – accommodations & eatery
1890 – Taylor Shellfish Farms, Shelton – seafood purveyor
1891 – Minnick-Hayner, Walla Walla – legal services
1891 – Franciscan Health Systems, Tacoma – healthcare
1891 – Washington Shoe Company, Kent – footwear manufacturer
1892 – The H.O. Seiffert, Co., Everett – real estate investment
1893 – Newman Burrows, Tukwila – commercial publishing
1894 – Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Tacoma – legal services
1894 – Continental Escrow Company, Seattle – escrow services
1894 – Knutzen Farm, Burlington – potatoes
1895 – Aldrich’s Market, Port Townsend – grocery store
1896 – Fitterer’s, Inc., Ellensburg – furniture store
1896 – Northwest Laboratories of Seattle, Inc., Seattle – tents
1896 – Rainier Industries, Tukwila – displays, shade & shelter
1896 – The Seattle Times Co., Seattle – newspaper
1896 – Shelburne Hotel, Long Beach – accommodations
1897 – C.C. Filson, Co., Seattle – apparel
1897 – Captain’s Nautical Supplies, Seattle – nautical outfitter
1897 – Horizon Distribution, Yakima – farm & industrial supply
1897 – Morse Steel, Bellingham – steel fabrication
1898 – Bargreen Coffee Co., Inc., Everett – coffee roastery
1898 – Dunbar Jewelers, Inc., Yakima – jewelry
1898 – Joe’s Place, Bucoda – food & beverage
1898 – Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Co., Enumclaw – insurance products
1898 – Olympia Oyster Co., Shelton – seafood wholesaler
1898 – Stanwood-Camano News, Inc., Stanwood – newspaper
1899 – Anderson & Middleton Corp., Tumwater – timber & wood products
1899 – John Peth & Sons, Bow – shipping & freight
1899 – Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Seattle – tourism attraction
1900 – Merlino Foods, Seattle – food products
1900 – Ewing & Clark, Seattle – real estate
1900 – Hallidie Machinery Company, Inc., Enumclaw – metal industry machinery
1900 – Mutual Materials, Bellevue – masonry & landscape products
1900 – PSF Industries, Seattle – metal fabricators
1900 – Ritzville Drug Co., Ritzville – pharmacy
1900 – TW Carrol & Co., Tukwila – luggage & travel accessories
1900 – Weyerhaeuser, Seattle – land management
1901 – Campbell’s Resort, Lake Chelan – recreation & tourism
1901 – Nordstrom, Seattle – department store
1901 – Star Rentals, Seattle – equipment rental
1901 – The McGregor Co., Colfax – farm products & consulting
1902 – Black Diamond Bakery, Black Diamond – baked goods
1902 – State Bank Northwest, Spokane Valley – financial services
1902 – Turner & Pease, Seattle – wholesale dairy products distribution
1902 – Washington Trust Bank, Spokane – financial services
1903 – Arlington Hardware & Lumber, Inc., Arlington – building supplies
1903 – Carman Manufacturing, Co., Tacoma – furniture
1903 – Gray Lumber Co., Tacoma – construction products
1903 – Helliesen Lumber & Supply, Yakima – building supplies
1903 – Lucks Food Decorating Company, Tacoma – edible food decorations
1903 – Keyes Packaging Corp., Wenatchee – molded fiber packaging
1903 – Security State Bank, Centralia – financial services
1903 – The Napoleon Co., Bellevue – food manufacturing
1904 – AAA Washington, Bellevue – automotive and member services
1904 – Karr Tuttle Campbell, Seattle – law firm
1904 – N.A. Degerstrom, Inc., Seattle – general contractor
1904 – Seattle Railcar Company (Nucor Steel), Seattle – steel products
1904 – The Bartell Drug Co., Seattle – retail pharmacy
1905 – Automatic Wilbert Vault Co., Inc., Tacoma – burial vaults & urns
1905 – Modern Electric Water Co., Spokane Valley – utility
1905 – Paccar, Inc., Bellevue – commercial vehicles
1905 – Petersen Brothers Inc., Sumner – contracting & equipment rentals/sales
1905 – The Wenatchee World, Wenatchee – newspaper
1906 – Almira Farmers Warehouse, Co., Almira – grain wholesaling
1906 – Hedlin’s Farm, Mt. Vernon – fresh fruit & produce
1906 – Mills Bros. Menswear, Wenatchee – men’s clothing
1906 – Olympia Federal Savings & Loan, Olympia – financial services
1907 – American Messenger Services (UPS), Seattle – delivery service
1907 – Ballard Sheet Metal Works, Inc., Seattle – metal fabrication
1907 – Bekins Moving & Storage Co., Mountlake Terrace – moving & storage
1907 – Blue Star Growers, Cashmere – warehousing & storage
1907 – Dunn Lumber, Seattle – building supplies
1907 – Markey Machinery Co. Inc., Seattle – custom deck machinery & equipment
1907 – Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel Co., Seattle – sand & gravel
1908 – Bank of Fairfield, Fairfield – financial services
1908 – Commercial Creamery Co., Spokane – specialty food ingredients
1908 – K&H Printers-Lithographers, Inc., Everett – printing services
1908 – Kitsap Bank, Kitsap County – financial services
1908 – Lamont Bank of St. John, St. John – financial services
1908 – Spokane Seed Co., Spokane – dried peas & lentils
1908 – Whidbey Telephone Co., Langley – telecommunications
1908 – Yakima Bindery & Printing, Yakima – office supplies & printing
1909 – Daily Ellensburg Record, Inc., Ellensburg – newspaper
1909 – Johnson Cox Co., Inc., Tacoma – commercial printing
1909 – Rex Land Co., Redmond – home construction services
1909 – Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Seattle – financial newspaper
1909 – Wilcox Family Farms, Roy – eggs
1910 – Albert Jensen & Son, Inc., Friday Harbor – shipyard
1910 – City Lumber & Coal Yard, Dayton – landscaping
1910 – Farmers New World Life Insurance, Mercer Island – insurance
1910 – Gebbers Farm, Inc., Brewster – fruit grower & processor
1910 – Inland Empire Paper Co., Spokane – paper products
1910 – JJ Benner Oyster Co., Federal Way – shellfish producer
1910 – Kong Yick Investment, Co., Seattle – investment services
1910 – North Star Glove Co., Tacoma – work gloves
1910 – Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Seattle – seafood wholesaler
1910 – RJ Martin Mortgage, Spokane – mortgage services
1910 – Washington Fruit & Produce Co., Yakima – produce grower & distributor
1911 – D.G. Parrott & Son – machine shop
1911 – LG Isaacson Co., Aberdeen – mill & industrial supplies
1911 – Kelleher Motor Co., Ellensburg – vehicle dealer
1911 – Kroll Map Company, Seattle – maps & mapmaking
1911 – Lornty Investment Co., Mercer Island – investment services
1911 – Pocock Racing Shells, Everett – racing boats
1911 – Redmond State Bank – financial services
1911 – R.H. Brown, Co., Seattle – material handling & equipment supplier
1911 – Riblet Tramway, Co., Spokane – aerial tramways & chairlifts
1912 – Ben Bridge Jewelers, Seattle – jewelry
1912 – Blackstock Lumber Co., Inc., Seattle – building supplies
1912 – Cowles Company, Spokane – newsprint, media & real estate
1912 – Fox’s Gem Shop, Seattle – jewelry
1912 – Gebbers Farms, Brewster – fresh fruit
1912 – Kristoferson Farm, Camano Island – agriculture & food manufacturer
1912 – Lummi Island Land Co., Lummi Island – real estate
1912 – National Frozen Foods Corp., Seattle – frozen foods producer
1912 – Northern Fish Company, Tacoma – seafood supplier
1912 – Pacific Lamp & Supply Co., Seattle – lighting products & supplies
1912 – Pacific Mutual Door, Olympia – door & window supplier
1912 – Perkins, Coie, Seattle – law firm
1912 – Rainier Connect, Tacoma – telecommunications & media
1912 – Roman Meal Company, Tacoma – wholesale bakery
1912 – Simpson Door Company, McCleary – door manufacturer
1912 – Three Girls Bakery, Seattle – retail bakery
1913 – Alaskan Copper Companies, Inc., Kent – metal products & processing
1913 – Alderbrook Resort & Spa, Union – hospitality & tourism
1913 – Buffelen Woodworking, Tacoma – door manufacturer
1913 – Hoffman Music Co., Spokane – retail music store & instruments
1913 – Home Electric, Seattle – wiring services
1913 – Kern Funeral Home, Mount Vernon – funeral services
1913 – Marine Supply and Hardware, Anacortes – marine supplier
1913 – Moss Adams, Seattle – public accounting firm
1913 – Murray Pacific Corp., Tacoma – timber & land management
1913 – Six Robblees, Inc., Tukwila – truck accessories
1914 – Apple King LLC, Yakima – fruit producer
1914 – Brown & Brown, Seattle – insurance
1914 – Brown & Haley, Tacoma – candy manufacturing
1914 – Peter Pan Seafoods – seafood producer
1915 – Central Washington Health Services, Wenatchee – healthcare
1915 – Farmer’s State Bank, Winthrop – financial services
1915 – National Sign Corporation, Seattle – signage
1915 – Western Materials, Inc., Yakima – building materials
1916 – The Boeing Company, Seattle – aircraft & space products
1916 – Columbia & Okanogan Nursery, Wenatchee – nursery
1916 – Diehl Ford, Bellingham – vehicle sales
1916 – Skinner Corp., Seattle – investment holding company
1917 – Globe Machine, Tacoma – general manufacturing
1917 – Seattle Lighting, Seattle – lighting systems
1917 – Tsue Chong Company, Seattle – Chinese food products
1917 – Pacific Iron & Metal – scrap metals
1918 – Darigold, Seattle – dairy products
1918 – The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., Seattle – workforce training
1918 – The Doty Group, Tacoma – certified public accountant