A Vancouver coffee pod distributor moving into a new Washougal industrial park building this summer plans to double its current workforce of 11 and start to manufacture eco-friendly versions of the popular coffee pods used in commercial and home single-cup coffee machines.
Edward Cai, chief executive officer of iFillCup, and a Camas resident since 2002, said his company’s current 5,000-square-foot location at 1101 N.E. 144th St., Ste. 107, Vancouver, is not designed for production.
“One reason to move to the Port of Camas-Washougal is our plan to manufacture 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable coffee and espresso drink pods in our new facility,” Cai said.
The Port of Camas-Washougal Commission approved a 10-year lease with iFillCup on Jan. 3. The business will occupy 9,900 square feet of Building 18, a 49,500-square-foot structure at 4060 S. Grant St., in phase two of the Steigerwald Commerce Center.
The Port’s lease with iFillCup includes two, five-year options. The lease terms are $4,950, plus 12.84 percent leasehold tax, per month, for the first five years. There will be an 8-percent lease cost increase during year six, as well as 3 percent hikes for each of the years seven through 10.
iFillCup partners with local, artisanal coffee roasters to fill pleated, polypropylene filters — coffee pods — that, according to the company’s marketing literature, “hold up to 50 percent more coffee” than the similarly designed Keurig K-Cup(R) and are the first completely recyclable single-serving coffee pods.
Unlike other coffee pod producers, which tend to work with larger, corporate coffee roasters, iFillCup allows “small- to- medium-size coffee roasters to produce the eco-friendly version of the K-Cup and Nespresso coffee,” Cai said.
iFillCup was founded as Household Technologies Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1993.
Combined with Panther RV Products’ lease — also for 9,900 square feet — the iFillCup lease helps fill Building 18 to nearly half full. The new Washougal industrial building now has 29,700 square feet available for one or more other businesses to lease.
“I am currently working with another company for 13,200 square feet,” said Port of C-W Executive Director David Ripp.
Rotschy Inc., of Vancouver, is expected to complete construction of Building 18, a metal prefabricated structure, in May.