When Karen Barrow and Mark Smith moved their Century Aviation business from the Puget Sound region to East Wenatchee a few years ago, they chuckled when they heard someone complain about a 10-minute commute. For Barrow and Smith, who regularly endured a 1.5-hour drive from Everett to Seattle each day, they knew life was going to be good in their new home.
"We looked all up and down the I-5 corridor, from California to British Columbia, for a location that had everything we needed to make our business successful," Smith says of the antique aircraft restoration business. "But we always found ourselves coming back to the NCW region."
Part of honing in on NCW was securing a building at Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee. Because of the kind of work it does, Century Aviation needed a large and capable airport. Clients have included Boeing, the U.S. Air Force Museum, the Smithsonian Institute's Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Seattle's Museum of Flight and McMinville, and Oregon's Evergreen Aviation Museum.
"The support we get from local banks, insurers and community members is incredible," Barrow says. "They get excited about projects we work on and take pride in our accomplishments. People are concerned about what impact businesses have on the community and care about what other business in the area contribute."