Whether a Washington state transplant or a long-time resident of this rich and varied region, you may not realize how many of your favorite trails, shops, restaurants and hang-out spots fall under the Port of Olympia’s umbrella. But they do more than simply host sites. Port officials support and invest in their properties and partners because when locally-owned small businesses succeed, everybody wins.
Building Thurston County’s Economy One Restaurant, Shop, Trail or Waterfront Park at a Time
On a map, the Port of Olympia’s footprint, so to speak, is wide-ranging and slightly soggy. They develop and maintain properties that include an array of commercial and tourism-based destinations. From the sea, there are boat landings and Swantown Marina – the seventh largest marina in the state – or take to the skies from the Olympia Regional Airport, which supports general aviation use and a full-service real estate division focused on economic development and community impact. Prefer solid ground under your feet? The Peninsula Walk and Billy Frank Jr. Trail are ideal and the Airport Golf & Batting Center is great for burning off steam.
Or wander through downtown’s Port and East Bay Plazas en route to the Olympia Farmers Market. With a full belly and holiday gift season complete thanks to local vendors, it’s time to feed the brain. The Olympic Flight Museum, Hands on Children’s Museum and WET Science Center enlighten and entertain in equal measure. And who could forget annual highlight events like the Olympic Air Show, Movies at the Marina, Capital City Pride, Olympia Harbor Days and Oly on Ice? These are just a taste of the many things we enjoy, thanks to the Port of Olympia.
Taber Lee, Port of Olympia communications and marketing senior manager, is proud of the Port’s vital role in our area. “We support the local Thurston County community and economy by creating jobs, attracting businesses, facilitating trade, promoting tourism, protecting the environment and actively engaging with the community every day,” he says.
The Port of Olympia Supports Nearly 120 Businesses in our Region
Unlike some landlords, the Port doesn’t just focus on a single type of holding. Their mission statement is simple: “Creating economic opportunities and building community for all of Thurston County through responsible resource use.” By providing infrastructure and facilities, they allow start-ups to do just that – and with a hefty advantage that comes through such a strong partnership.
“The Port is thoughtful about caring for its tenants and is proud to ensure tenants feel supported and receive prompt service and communication,” says Clarita Mattox, Port of Olympia real estate senior manager. “It’s basically no surprises. The Port is always interested and involved in making sure the business centers are maintained in a healthy and safe environment and keeps up with the demands of the market.”
They host companies of all types and work with their tenants to succeed and grow. “The Port is cognizant of the importance of our tenants as the catalysts for the economic health of our county and region,” continues Mattox. “The real estate operations at the Port continue to show strong growth and interest from developers and retailers continue to favor the sites the Port of Olympia offers.”
Partnering With the Port of Olympia is Win/Win
Business owners know that opening or maintaining a business requires a lot of juggling. Landlords, banks, regulators, suppliers, shippers, accountants and human resources are all in the mix even before customers arrive. At the Port of Olympia, they’ve seen and done it all and tenants benefit from their sprawling, eclectic footprint.
“While large office and retail markets are facing challenges of downward demand, the Port has been able to meet the needs and demands of the small user,” shares Mattox. These include restaurants, yoga and martial arts studios, a daycare, barbershop and even a church congregation.
Larger clients include a Washington State Patrol detachment office and more in development. Mattox says they’re in talks with “a state agency for a fairly large development, as well as a well-known retail corporation that will offer 24-hour service, as well as the development of a manufacturing site currently undergoing permitting process with the City of Tumwater.” In 2024, they hope to sell two buildings and move forward with the Habitat Conservation Plan once it’s concluded.
And of course, they’re still a working port. Lee explains that the Port’s work, “facilitates international trade by serving as a gateway for imports and exports. It operates a break bulk marine terminal that handles cargo shipments, including goods like timber, agricultural products, and manufactured goods. This trade activity generates revenue for the port and stimulates economic growth in the region.
If you’re starting a new venture or have outgrown your current location, consider joining forces with the Port of Olympia. Information about available properties can be found on the Port of Olympia website or through LoopNet where they list retail, office, and flex spaces available. Send direct questions to Clarita Mattox at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360.528.8000 and start your next chapter today.