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Apparel maker eyes major expansion

Drift Creek Outdoors, an outerware apparel manufacturer based in Woodburn, is looking to more than double the size of its facilities.

According to Martin Hodges, sales manager and co-owner of the company, Drift Creek’s current building on National Way — which it uses for manufacturing, storage and distribution — contains about 16,000 square feet.

The new structure the company is planning on an adjacent three-acre parcel on Industrial Avenue would contain about 20,000.

Hodges said the business has seriously outgrown its present space.

“We currently stock about 140,000 jackets and 200,000 hats in six 40-foot storage containers outside of our building, which I’d love to get rid of,”?he said with a laugh.

The proposed building’s site design review was considered and approved by the Woodburn Planning Commission during a hearing last week. The company now has to have its building application approved before construction can proceed.

Presuming the project is cleared by the city, Hodges said the company and its staff would keep its current location and operate out of both buildings.

Drift Creek has also added three new employees in the past three months, and plans to double its 16-person embroidery division over the next couple years.

Hodges said the expansion is being driven by significant increases in demand for Drift Creek products.

“We were able to position ourselves in a good spot coming out of the recession in 2008 and 2009,” he said. “We are ready to go into our third straight year of 25 percent or more growth.”

As a matter of fact, Hodges said the company’s sales by July 1 of this year had already eclipsed its total sales for the entire year of 2009.

“The business is growing fast,”?he said.

Hodges and his three brothers — who are also part-owners of the company — have been planning for the expansion for several years. They purchased the land adjacent to their current location about two and a half years ago from a mobile-home dealer.

Hodges said the new warehouse will take up two-thirds of the three-acre property, and the company hopes to lease the other acre once the project is completed.

Founded in 1981 in the back room of the Double H Western Wear & Feed Store, the family-owned business has focused on innovative solutions to the outerwear needs of the outdoor recreation market, developing new designs and using the latest materials and fabrics.

The company now operates three divisions, including Granyte LLC (which is the owner of record for the property on which the new facility had been proposed), and its brands include the trademarked performance fabrics Stormbloc and?Tundra Tech.

Hodges said the company has mainly found its niche in the Alaska fishing and resort market. Alaska Railroad is its top corporate client, which uses Drift?Creek products in outfitting its employees and stocking its retail stores.

The company worked with the Salem-based Keating Engineering for the architectural plans of the property, and will use Pacific Building Systems (a local metal-building manufacturer) for the construction.

For more information about Drift Creek, visit the company’s website at drift creekoutdoors.com.



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