“I really loved our downtown Seattle location,” said TRInternational CEO Megan Gluth-Bohan, who recently relocated her business to Edmonds. “But with street crime on the rise, our employees and out-of-town customers were feeling increasingly unsafe — and the political will to change things just isn’t there.”
A world-class distributor of raw materials since 1994, TRInternational maintains branch offices in Shanghai and Seoul, and conducts business on every continent. The company is focused on connecting its wide array of clients with suppliers of the industrial products they need.
More than just making connections, the TRInternational team brings its extensive product knowledge and industry experience to bear as it works with customers to provide custom-tailored product alternatives that recognize individual needs, ensuring that the right products are delivered to the right customer at the right time.
Formerly headquartered in the Plaza 600 Building at Sixth and Stewart, TRInternational’s downtown Seattle location worked well for a number of years.
“The proximity to airports and hotels, the Pike Place Market, the shopping and the diversity of downtown were real pluses for our workers and visiting clients,” Gluth-Bohan explained. “But as street crime and related ills spread right to our front door, it became increasingly untenable for both our employees and our many out-of-town customers.”
She related a recent incident in which a deranged person stabbed two tourists on the sidewalk in front of the Nordstrom building a block away from their offices, took off his clothing, and ran down the street naked. This is “just one of many examples, and not what we want to have right outside our home offices,” she added.
Many of her employees commute by public transportation, and the various downtown Seattle bus stops are “simply no longer safe,” she said.
“We’ve watched the situation deteriorate for some time, and the lack of meaningful efforts to change things amounts to a tragic mishandling of a resource,” she explained. “For us, it was simply time to leave Seattle.”
A former Edmonds resident, Gluth-Bohan joined the company in 2011 as general counsel and became CEO in 2014. She now lives in Mukilteo with her wife and two children, so she is familiar with the area.
“In looking for a new location, we set our sights north, and hoped to find something in Snohomish County,” she relates. When Gluth-Bohan saw the building in Edmonds’ Westgate neighborhood, “I knew within 10 minutes that this was it,” she said. “The space was sufficient, the location was right – and with Pagliaccci next door and PCC across the street, how could we go wrong?” she added with a laugh.
The deal closed in November on the 9,000-square-foot building, and since then Gluth-Bohan and her employees have been settling in and arranging their new headquarters. She says that they plan to occupy the majority of the space, and will look to renting the rest to another business.
But it was more than the building. Critically important for Gluth-Bohan was safety, and this topped her list of criteria for a new location.
“We have a strong commitment to our employees and want to provide the best possible work environment for them, and things had just become too sketchy in Seattle,” she said. “We needed a place where our employees feel safe, and the Edmonds culture is committed to that.
“And besides, what’s not to like about Edmonds?” she asked. “With a strong chamber, the commitment to a good economy, a strong focus on the arts, the water, the views – I really can’t understate the beauty – and a good blend of people who pay attention, it just seemed like the perfect place for us.”
Still in the midst of the moving-in process, Gluth-Bohan says that there will be about 17 employees based at their new Edmonds headquarters. Two of these already live in Edmonds, and according to her others are considering relocating here. For now the number who come to work will be dependent on COVID-related work-from-home policies.
“I already feel at home here,” Gluth-Bohan relates. “I love looking out the window and seeing trees. I have a special place in my heart for Edmonds.”
— By Larry Vogel