Columbia Industries' new facility debuts in Kennewick

Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldApril 17, 2014 

Columbia Industries debuted its new records management facility in Kennewick on Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours.

And the event -- which drew dozens of elected officials, business leaders and other community members -- marked the last time the public will have wide-ranging access to the 20,000-square-foot space, which is the new home of the nonprofit's CI Information Management.

Because of the nature of the records work, "the security on this facility is very high," said Rich Foeppel, Columbia Industries president and CEO. "This is a special day in a number of ways."

CI Information Management provides secure off-site records management and storage.

With several rows of towering floor-to-ceiling storage racks, the new records facility on Railroad Avenue can hold about 60,000 cubic feet of records.

But it has room to more than double that as demand grows, officials told the Herald.

The facility is unique in the Tri-City area and has a lot to offer businesses, said Justin Crume, business division manager.

Columbia Industries has the mission of building up the job skills of people with disabilities. It helps hundreds of clients annually, and it also provides numerous products and services.

It has offered document shredding for several years, and it got into records storage and management with the 2013 purchase of the local Records Management Services Inc.

Steve Osborne, chairman of Columbia Industries board, said the nonprofit has faced challenging times and it has been important for its leaders to be forward thinking and on the lookout for businesses that can help sustain its mission.

"By trying to be forward thinking and acting, we're trying to be sure that we can continue this very important mission for years to come," he said during Thursday's ribbon cutting.

The records building is newly renovated, but it's not new to Columbia Industries. It was donated, along with some other property, in the 1990s by John and Helen Goldsbury.

Columbia Industries has used it for packaging and wine storage operations in the past.

Cliff Thorn Construction was the contractor for renovations. Foeppel said his organization has invested about $1.5 million in records management, including the renovation work, the purchase last year of the records company and some anticipated operating losses while the operation grows.

For more information on CI Information Management, call 586-6090.

-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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