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Reno Lands Another Corporate Company Looking To Expand

Cascade Designs

Cascade Designs, Inc. was created in 1972, shortly after Boeing announced the company’s largest layoff in its history; a layoff that left 50,000 Seattle residents, including engineers Jim Lea and Neil Anderson, jobless. Desperate to get back to work, the friends turned to John Burroughs for ideas. Burroughs told them that the mountain climbing industry was seriously lacking in a quality sleeping mattress, and the duo took on the challenge. By 1974 the friends began production of Therma-Rest pads, the world’s first self-inflating mattress and an innovative outdoor equipment company took off.[i]

Currently, Cascade Designs is still a private, family-owned company that has been transformed into one of the world’s most respected outdoor equipment company. The company credits their success to sticking to their fundamental principles of providing relevant and innovative products, exceptional quality, and service that exceeds their customers’ expectations.

The company is looking to expand, but the sky-high real estate rates in Seattle does not allow the company to stay in their home town. After looking at sites throughout the west, our very own Reno, Nevada was selected as the company’s new site. Cascade Designs will move 100 jobs, nearly one-fifth of its workforce to a Reno manufacturing and distribution facility. The specific location has yet to be released.

Not only did Reno’s reasonably priced real estate help win the company over, but its close proximity to Lake Tahoe which will allow for product testing played a large role. Closeness to California is also key, as the state is the company’s single-largest retail market. Labor costs were another factor that drove the company to look outside of Seattle for expansion locations. Seattle employers are now required to pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour. This is especially relevant as the company strives to keep the majority of their manufacturing within the US.[ii]

Martin Maisonpierre, company spokesman, said the new facility should open by August and be fully operational by the first quarter of 2016. All affected employees were offered the opportunity to relocate to Reno with six to 10 months’ notice. The Reno based jobs will pay $10 an hour and be on the more labor-intensive less-specialized end. The majority of the more complex manufacturing positions will remain in Seattle.

While there are companies moving to Reno that are making national news, it is companies like Cascade Designs that are equally important to the continued growth of the Northern Nevada economy. By relocating a portion of their company from Seattle to Reno it shows that we are able to recruit a great company even without huge tax breaks or economic incentives.



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