QUINCY - Amway officials signaled the start of construction on their $38 million botanical manufacturing facility during a ground breaking ceremony Wednesday.
The Nutrilite Botanical Concentrate Manufacturing plant will take up 48,000 square feet on 12 acres of land that Amway purchased from the Port of Quincy. According to Amway projections, the plant will be completed in 2014 and will create about 30 local jobs when operations begin.
The Quincy plant will transform botanicals such as blueberries, peppermint and oregano from the area into raw materials and ingredients that go into the company's Nutrilite products. These materials will then be sent from Quincy to Amway operations throughout the country as well as to other global destinations such as China, India and Vietnam.
According to project manager Susan Youngquist, the plant in Quincy will be Amway's main source of raw botanicals.
"It's a very important operation for us," she said. "We're providing botanical extracts and concentrates for California as well as a number of international markets."
Nutrilite is currently the world's top selling vitamins and dietary supplements brand, according to Amway vice president of research and development George Calvert. The 53-year-old company is currently worth about $11 billion, he said.
Youngquist also said that Amway is benefitting from having its new plant in Quincy as opposed to other locations.
"The excellent utilities that the Port of Quincy has created, provided us all the essential infrastructure that we need," she said.
Youngquist added the Quincy operation will be in close proximity to the company's Trout Lake Farm facilities. The botanicals and other materials from that location will be brought to Quincy for processing.
Quincy Mayor Jim Hemberry said the city is just as pleased to host the new Amway facility.
"Today marks the beginning of what I hope to be a trend in the type of innovative companies that see the City of Quincy as an ideal city to build new facilities," he said. "It's exciting to see a company like Amway build in our community.
Hemberry said the operation will provide diversification within the area's mainstay industry of agriculture. Jobs in Grant County are agricultural based, he said.
"Agriculture has been, and always will be the backbone of our local economy," said Hemberry. He added that the community will benefit from the jobs the plant will bring as well as from the spending people involved in the project will do at local businesses.
While the plant is a benefit for the city of Quincy, Washington State Department of Agriculture director Dan Newhouse said the new facility is a benefit for the state as well.
"We produce over $8 billion worth of crops and livestock on an annual basis, on 39,000 different farms, and employing 160,000 people," he said. "So it's a big deal."
Amway will use federal funding to pay for some of the construction of the new facility, according to Sen. Linda Evans-Parlette, R-Wenatchee, of the state's 12th District, a ranking member of the Capitol Budget Committee. This year's capitol budget included about $1.1 million to be spent on projects.
"The area of Quincy had two great projects," she said. "In the end, what we had to say was 'local folks, you figure it out'."
The Amway project was chosen, and Evans-Parlette said it was the right choice since it would provide jobs immediately compared to the other project.
Rep. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, another ranking member of the Capital Budget Committee, called Amway's products a different form of agricultural products.
"It is pretty exciting to see a company connected to the agricultural community," she said. "I'm very excited they're here. The opportunity to convince the other side this was a good project was easy."
The Quincy project is part of the company's $185 million U.S. expansion currently taking place. Three other manufacturing projects include an $81 million soft gel and tablet manufacturing operation and a $24 million nutrition powder plant in Ada, Mich. and a $42 million project in Buena Park, Calif., that will support tablet manufacturing.