What started as an experiment with three people and a couple trucks last summer has blossomed into a bustling enterprise, as Tacoma asphalt company Rainier Asphalt & Concrete celebrates the one-year anniversary of its first-ever branch office in Tacoma.
“In some ways, it’s back to the beginning,” says owner Tom Merry, a Gig Harbor native. “This is where I started the business 17 years ago as a college student.”
The Tacoma office now has over 15 people, including a dedicated Project Manager and Account Manager, and offers its full suite of services including asphalt patching and paving, concrete, curbing, crack filling, seal coating, striping and drainage.
“We wanted to be better able serve our customers in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties,” says Merry, while noting that many of its regular customers have jobsites throughout the Puget Sound. This allows them to be more nimble in serving those clients, and also more price competitive because of reduced travel time and better vendor relationships.
Another benefit to the branch office has been to enhance its recruiting efforts.
“The demand for our services is very high right now, and one of our biggest challenges had been finding enough talented workers,” Merry says. “This has allowed us to recruit new areas that wouldn’t have been available to us before.”
Branch Manager Joe Garrison, who was born into the pavement business and himself has over 20 years of industry experience, has been instrumental in leading the effort.
“I am very proud of our Tacoma crew,” Garrison says. “They have worked hard to build a successful branch in a very short time.”
The company’s home office, in North Bend — around an hour away — continues to serve clients in King, Snohomish and Kittitas counties. The Tacoma office serves the communities of Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey in the south end, Puyallup, Kent, Auburn, Federal Way, Tukwila and Renton to the north, and Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Bremerton and Bainbridge Island to the west.
Underscoring the company’s commitment to this new branch office, in June it purchased the property where their new yard and offices sit.
“It’s pretty remarkable how successful this experiment has been,” Merry says. “It’s a testament to the dedication of our our employees. Now we’re thinking about the possibility of a third location in the near future.”
Rainier Asphalt & Concrete has been in business since August, 2000, has over 50 employees in peak season (including approximately 15 Tacoma asphalt employees) and services more than 1,200 individual jobs per year, which total around $10 million.