From our home we observe the work being accomplished at Astoria Warehousing daily. This makes us keenly aware and interested in the business. Therefore, it seems important to share some facts regarding the business, and to clear up some gross misunderstandings.
In 1983 John Supple, who was a retired executive from Bumble Bee/Castle and Cooke Corp., along with Rayona Riutta, purchased the American Can Company and the property at 70 W. Marine Drive in Astoria. They formed Astoria Warehousing Inc. to store, label, package and ship canned salmon from Alaska all over the world. This came at a time when Astoria was struggling after the closure of the Elmore Cannery.
In 1984 Dan Supple, John’s son, came to work at Astoria Warehousing and built additional storage warehouses, and began engineering new label and packaging lines to process the new tapered cans the Alaska canneries were producing. Dan can be credited with reinventing the entire industry.
It was in l985 that John Supple and Rayona Riutta sold Astoria Warehousing to Peter Pan Seafood and Icicle Seafood. The sale resulted in the ability to secure enough food products and cans to gainfully employ 25 or more people for 35 years. This also meant that these jobs were kept in the community, and satellite storage warehouses were built in Knappa.
Dan Supple was employed as the production manager from 1985 to 2000, and was instrumental in transforming the packaging of canned salmon that can be purchased in stores all over the world. Equipped with new state of the art and automated equipment, along with a proud group of incredibly talented employees, Astoria Warehousing became the gold standard of the canned salmon industry.
General manager became Dan’s title from 2000 to the present time. He has formed a special bond with the employees. While the employees like to call themselves the “Blue Crew” because they wear blue uniforms, Dan calls them the “Dream Team.” Dan’s motto remains, “The difficult we did immediately, and the impossible took us a little longer.”
Now that the company is closing its Astoria facility, it should again be made clear that Dan Supple does not own the business. It is owned by two seafood giants operating out of Seattle. We know that Dan has given his life to this community and the 25 employees he treasures.
Dan is also working diligently to assist each employee and every family with this challenging and difficult transition to another location. If they take the opportunity to move to the new site in Kent, Washington, Dan will facilitate job assignments and provide any needed training regarding state of the art equipment.
Being located near the Interstate 5 corridor will significantly reduce transportation costs and time for the owners of the company.
We hope this information assists members of our community in gaining a better understanding of the Astoria Warehousing company.
Mike and Marian Soderberg are native Astorians and retired educators.