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Longtime Gresham manufacturer will relocate to Vista Logistics Park to support an increase of product

Almost 50 years ago, a Gresham businessman manufactured his first insulated panel right across the street from where City Hall currently stands.

Al Zell founded his company, Imperial Brown, Inc., in the community in 1970, and has since expanded across the country to become one of the world's top manufacturers of custom walk-in coolers and freezers.

On Tuesday afternoon, April 16, Gresham City Council unanimously voted to pass along incentives to allow the longtime Gresham manufacturer to more than double its production and remain in the city.

"I am really thrilled Imperial Brown wants to stay in our wonderful community and bring more jobs," said Councilor Karylinn Echols.

Imperial Brown is expanding its manufacturing facility with a move from 2271 N.E. 194th Ave., into a 113,000-square-foot building at Vista Logistics Park, 223rd Avenue and Stark Street. The business employs 108 people, but anticipates adding 14 new jobs as part of the $10.7 million expansion.

"This move signifies a resounding affirmation of our company's commitment to the Northwest, its people, its values and culture," said Justin Sandall, Imperial Brown president and CEO.

Imperial Brown was approved for Gresham's enterprise zone program to receive a five-year abatement on property taxes. The company met requirements by investing more than $1 million, adding more than 11 new jobs, creating career pathways with a focus on local residents, and paying a community service fee in the final two years of the deal to help fund other economic development projects within the city.

"It's not lost on us the first panel was made across the street," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. "This is a Gresham-grown company."


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