Fed up with big-city ills, multinational corporation moves HQ from Seattle to Edmonds

TRInternational CEO Megan Gluth-Bohan stands at the reception desk of the company’s new Edmonds home. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

“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.

The new global headquarters of TRInternational is located in the Westgate neighborhood, just off Edmonds Way.

“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

  1. Welcome to Edmonds! The Pearl of the Puget Sound with friendly people who make the gold chain that connects us all to our get city.

    1. Hoping members of the Seattle City Council see this and wake up to the fact that we can’t just turn a blind eye and give criminals get out of jail free cards because they claim homelessness, poverty, addiction issues.

      But if they were paying attention to downtown they’d have done something already.

  2. Seattle has forgotten about the importance of following the law. I am sure the parade permits did not include permission to camp on the streets.The mayor’s decision to remove police and bringing in food and PortaPotties for the demonstrators showed a lack of commom sense.

    1. Exactly.. Ms Durkan aligned herself with her own enemies and sold this once beautiful city out to them. I fear it will never, ever be the same.

  3. Welcome TR International! Sorry to see the conditions in Seattle driving away great companies, but we are glad to have you!

  4. Welcome to Edmonds TRInternational! I am someone who grew up in Seattle and have been broken hearted by its demise. My family and business have thrived in this special city!

  5. Seattle, LA, SF, and Portland have all failed to deal with crime, addiction, and homelessness. They collectively spend many hundreds of millions of dollars each year with no solution. I guess it’s the voters’ fault for putting incompetent people into office. I’m afraid to go to downtown Seattle now. Congratulations, Edmonds !

    1. The cities you mention: Seattle/SFO/LAX have signed up for the newest, biggest business to hit the West Coast, the business of “managing” the huge homeless problem by keeping it “alive and well”, with Taxpayer dollars. They don’t want it solved; they only want to receive funds to incourage that it continues and that they have a steady income stream and political power. Giving freebies of housing, food, and drugs out to homeless, drug, and alcohol abusers will guarantee the societal rip-off that this new industry specializes in. Perpetuity is their goal.

      Our Government is the parent that cannot say no or discipline their charge. Just buy them a car, pay for an apartment and send money for food. Then sit back and wonder why they don’t work for a living.

      1. So…how much Fox “News” have you been watching? You have done a masterful job of internalizing their one-sided, biased tripe and parroting it obediently.

        1. No Fox News bud, just lots of life. I’ve lived in 8 different countries, originally from Latvia. But thanks for your comment. I see where this country is headed, it is not good. You like Seattle, Lax, SFO, Portland? Do you understand a full world view? Or perhaps you just like to attack on a personal level, with no data.

        2. Wait, what? Just when I thought there were some reasonable people out there. I had to read your pathetic comment!

      2. Mr. Pilmanis, this is why more people are moving away from Seattle. You hit the nail on the head. This new company has moved to Edmonds to get away from the bad politics/government of Seattle. I just hope people who move here remember why they left these lawless areas when they vote, and not bring the crazy Seattle politics with them.

        1. While I am sorry that you had to move, we are excited to welcome you and the rest of TRInternational to Edmonds.

          Edmonds is a caring community with lots of perks, and I very much believe that you will find that is was a great decision for your business.

          The Seattle City Council and Prosecuting Attorney have unfortunately deprioritized the safety of the citizens in the city and have stopped caring about how their policies have lead to unnecessary assaults and deaths.

          Many of the prolific repeat offenders are not given help for themselves or their victims. It is an unfortunate decline of a city that many of us still hold dear to our hearts, and hope someday will return to sane management again.

  6. Martin, you’re absolutely correct! I have had a business in Seattle for many years. The Mayor, City Council, Prosecuting Attorney, and all the way down the line have failed miserably. It’s common sense to see that their policies have destroyed the city. The Seattle Police Dept. have worked harder and helped Seattle more than any politician ever has. The cop-hating City Council needs to be removed before anything can change!

    We have to hope these radical politics don’t spread from Seattle and ruin our great City of Edmonds.
    It’s certainly making its way around the country.

    The lame comment earlier about watching “Fox News” is so typical of the extreme left!

  7. Mr Gietzen, Mr Pilmanis – I share your deep frustration with the incompetence exhibited in Seattle, but can you honestly claim that Fox News presents a balanced view, let alone a nuanced one? For the country and city to move forward, don’t we need a variety of views? For example, how many news sources do you view/read? For a “full world view” multiple sources and opinions are surely necessary?

    We might also do well to avoid terms such as “lame” and “extreme left” – buzz words are never a way to encourage discussion, and usually indicate unwillingness to listen or consider – but perhaps that was not your intent?

    1. You talking to me? I never used the words “lame or extreme left”. But daily, I read 4 different newspapers in 3 languages. Either you are buzzed or your reading comprehension is lacking. What is your intent Nathaniel? When you have something to say, I will read and listen. But when you accuse me of saying something I did not say, I will correct you.

  8. Welcome to Edmonds, Megan! Congratulations! You have made another good decision. I also made a few moves myself, from Shanghai (I went to college in Shanghai) to Iowa, to Wisconsin, then started my Accounting firm in Seattle, and finally in Edmonds. Love it! Friendly people and businesses, beautiful surroundings, there is no better place to raise a family and do business than Edmonds!

    Will Chen – Edmonds City Council Candidate

  9. Nathaniel,
    I used those words in frustration, not necessary. You need to take another look at the comments. I don’t see where anybody claimed “Fox News” has a balanced view! I think there are very few news outlets that have a balanced view. That’s one of the biggest problems our Country faces in my opinion. I have spent a lot of years seeing first hand what is going on in Seattle. I’ve had endless meetings and conversations with community groups, politicians, SPD, etc.
    I guess I’m not here to encourage discussion about Seattle, I was simply stating my experience and frustrations with operating a small business in Seattle. There has been far too many “discussions” and not nearly enough action! I’m tired of Seattle, just like “TRInternational” is. I applaud the company for leaving Seattle and coming to Edmonds.

  10. Welcome to Edmonds! I just read this quote from TRInternational CEO Megan Gluth-Bohan in an another article in which she gives a few more specific reasons why she decided to relocate the company. Seattle’s loss is our gain.

    “We had one female employee chased into a Starbucks,” Megan Gluth-Bohan told a local TV station. “Business partners coming in for meetings were dodging human fecal matter and homeless people on the sidewalk… [An employee] had her driver’s side window down working the parking machine, and someone attempted to enter her car.”

    Gluth-Bohan is the CEO of TR International, a global chemical distributor that has called Downtown Seattle its home for over two decades. They’re moving to Edmonds, Wash., about 15 minutes north. She’s not alone.

    Source – https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/seattle-life-support-flee-residents-businessess-jason-rantz

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