Ice Chips Candy Signs Tumwater Lease

BY JENNA LOUGHLIN jloughlin@yelmonline.com
Posted 11/6/14

Having outgrown its current manufacturing facility, Ice Chips candy is ready to move and expand.

After being produced just outside of the city of Yelm for the last four years, the current …

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Ice Chips Candy Signs Tumwater Lease

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Having outgrown its current manufacturing facility, Ice Chips candy is ready to move and expand.

After being produced just outside of the city of Yelm for the last four years, the current location’s 4,000 square feet is not enough to allow the company to fill all the orders it receives. As a result, co-founders Bev Vines-Haines and Charlotte Clary will be moving their company 17 miles west to a 21,500-square-foot space located off Old Highway 99 near the Olympia airport, at 818 79th Ave. in Tumwater. They will be leasing what was previously two units from Kaufman Construction and Development for $14,000 per month.

“Our new facility is ginormous,” Vines-Haines said.

“It’s going to be like when we moved into this building,” Clary said. “We moved in and looked around at all the space we had and went, ‘Wow.’ And we’re going to get into that building and it’s going to seem so large, so extra large and spacious, but come back to us in a year and see what we think.”

“Ice Chips is such a wonderful story of a cottage industry business going wild,” Kaufman’s Vice President Theresa Wall said in a press release. “They are great to work with.”

“We have so enjoyed the opportunity to work with Ice Chips on this process to find the best fit for their expansion operations,” Renée Sunde of the Thurston Economic Development Council said in the press release. “We look forward to continuing to assist them in getting up and running as soon as possible in their new location.”

The entrepreneurs have been looking for a larger space for the last year and had hopes of bringing their manufacturing facility into the city of Yelm. However, there was no building large enough for them that was also zoned for light industrial manufacturing.

“We tried desperately to find something in Yelm, and when you see what we got, it’s obvious right away why we couldn’t find it in Yelm,” Vines-Haines said. “There just is nothing here.”

With a product that is 95-98 percent xylitol, the production of Ice Chips requires little water usage — just what is necessary for cleaning — and the only offensive part, according to the founders, is the aroma produced.

“Our neighbors love us here,” Vines-Haines said.

The two were even considering constructing their own building, but were told by city of Yelm Building Official Gary Carlson and Yelm Mayor Ron Harding they did not think they could zone the business, according to Vines-Haines.

“I feel bad, because I love Yelm, but cities that keep business away never reach the status they think they are,” she said.



“When I read about Yelm in the Chamber of Commerce information, it’s read like they’re pro-growth,” Clary said. “What concerns me is that they might think they are, and they are so not.”

With that, the two are now focused on the process of moving with the goal of being in the new space by Jan. 1, 2015. However, their other business, a skincare line called Healing Leaf, will stay put.

“We love our new building, but we love that we get to stay in Yelm too,” Vines-Haines said.

The larger space will allow for a 10-fold increase in the amount of Ice Chips produced — from 9,100 tins per day to 100,000 tins per day — and allow the manufacturing to catch up with the demand.

“We have just been holding back buyers waiting for the product knowing that we had to make this move to be able to do order fulfillment for them,” Clary said. “It’s a good problem to have.”

Vines-Haines and Clary hope their 34 employees will move with them to the Tumwater site and, when asked about if they will be adding additional workers, Clary joked that there are 52 parking spots available. She also said automated machinery has been purchased, which will free up current employees to perform other tasks. Vines-Haines added that as they add lines, they will add people.

A team of business planners has worked on creating a flow in the new space.

“From one point all the way to the shipping department, it just moves,” Vines-Haines said. “It’s amazing. I think it’s just awesome.”

In addition to a larger manufacturing space, the new location will also give them an opportunity to create a retail spot for people to purchase the 20 different flavors of Ice Chips. The move will also bring at least one new flavor — sour apple — with more in the works as well as new packaging — a plastic, resealable bag — that can be sold in vending machines or taken on airplanes and, at a slightly smaller amount of candy, offers the business a new price point.

“There’s just so much we can do at that price point over where we were,” Vines-Haines said.

Ice Chips candy is on track to make $3.8 million to $4 million in sales in 2014. Vines-Haines and Clary have set a goal of $12 million to $15 million in sales in 2015.

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