Columbia Industries Expands Product Shipments Across U.S. - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia Industries Expands Product Shipments Across U.S.

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- The local efforts of Columbia Industries are well-documented and the Kennewick non-profit also ships hundreds of thousands of products across the country.

Columbia Industries employs people with disabilities to assemble products for major companies and then ships them across the U.S.

CI is a non-profit that now sends products to every state in the country and is expanding at a rapid rate.

Columbia Industries employees are hard at work assembling products including everything from train lanterns to boat fuel spill guards and cloth masks for the Navy. Business is booming.

"This is a six month synopsis of Rail-Tek supply and all the orders that we've sent out in a six month period. As you can see, we've sent out quite a few orders. Typically, anywhere from a thousand to 1,500 lanterns go out on a monthly basis," said Fred Clarke, CI Division Manager.

And that is just the lanterns.

In fact, Clarke tells NBC Right Now CI now ships around a 250,000 products a year. The company is also taking on new product contracts that are expanding their reach even further.

"It's amazing when you really see how this has grown, when it started with a handful of these lamps and lanterns shipped around the country. But now to every state, thousands upon thousands," said Jeff Thompson, CI Director of Operations.

CI does it all as a non-profit that employs people with disabilities.

"While they're here, they're building skills. And now they're building skills soldering, manufacturing, building and really product for the real world," Thompson said.

"Just the expansion of these products over the last three years has been a tremendous attribute to the assembly center," Clarke said.

When a worker was asked how it makes him feel to work at CI, he said, "Proud." The CI assembly center does an impressive job with only 23 workers.

This year the company celebrated their 50th anniversary and their expansion success promises a bright future for years to come.

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