Consumers in Southeast Asia are looking to satisfy a sweet (and salty) tooth. A deal between AMES International
will make that easier.
Fife-based AMES is the parent company of Emily’s Chocolates
. During a May ceremony at the World Trade Center Tacoma
, the company signed an agreement with Tmall, a Chinese-language website for business-to-consumer online retail (think Amazon
) operated by the Alibaba Group
, to continue to grow the product line.
Consumers in China are looking for high-quality U.S. products, and Emily’s Chocolates fits the bill. Established in 1987 the family-run business has become a prominent supplier of top-quality chocolate products across the U.S. and one of the largest nut roasters on the West Coast.
AMES CEO George Paulose immigrated to Fife from India in the 1960s. He created AMES International to support his growing family, including daughters Amy and Emily. As children, they helped out on the manufacturing floor.
Today, Amy Paulose is president of AMES International. She’s worked to take the local company her father built from the ground up to the international stage, and China and Southeast Asia are key to her plan. Over the next five years, the company’s export business is expected to surpass national sales, and AMES anticipates expanding its team to support the Emily’s brand. The company will tap into a wide local pool of talent with expertise in logistics, operations, product development and marketing.
At present, the company employs a staff of 45, which swells to around 60 during peak production times.
Supportive business environment
Over the past 30-plus years, support from the City of Fife
and local business community has helped put AMES on the map, Paulose said. “Fife and Pierce County
are very supportive of our business and trade. We’ve seen the evolution and feel the excitement.”
“AMES International has certainly proven that a small family business can grow into an international player, right here in Fife, by utilizing our proximity to the Port of Tacoma and the world,” said Fife Mayor Kim Roscoe. “It has been truly inspiring to watch them flourish and prosper, all the while being good community stewards. We can’t wait to see what they do next.”
Paulose was a student of former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma when he was a professor in the University of Puget Sound
business department. “I fondly recall his goal to make Tacoma the ‘City of Destiny,’ and I am encouraged to see the community is moving in that direction,” she said. “The quality of life, and diversity of businesses and community members make it a thriving place to run a business.”