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December 1, 2017

Local businessman buys Western Marine Electronics

Wesmar photo [enlarge]
Wesmar’s new owner Roger Fellows, left, and company founder Bruce Blakey. Fellows said the company and all its employees will remain in Woodinville.

Bruce H. Blakey, founder and president of Western Marine Electronics, sold his company to local businessman Roger Fellows.

The deal closed on Nov. 1 and financial terms were not available.

Wesmar designs and manufactures marine equipment such as sonar, bow and stern thrusters, and roll fin stabilizers at its 82,300-square-foot plant and headquarters in Woodinville. Its products are used around the world in commercial fishing as well as military, government, private yachts and sport boats.

“It is not every day someone can purchase a company with great potential and a 52-year-old brand known worldwide,” said Fellows in a news release. “I've been looking for a company to purchase for the past year. My background includes innovative and specialized underwater products for the oil and gas industry, and I believe it fits with Wesmar's underwater product focus.”

Blakey founded the company in 1965 to develop sonar that would help commercial fishermen find fish. Wesmar says it developed the world's first solid state sonar and color radar.

Blakey guided his company through tumultuous times in the marine industry, keeping production in the U.S. while competitors closed or moved production overseas. Wesmar says it's the only company left that designs and builds marine sonar products in the U.S.

Fellows, who has assumed the role of president, said the company and all its employees will remain in Woodinville.

Fellows was vice president and general manager at Woodinville-based SkoFlo Industries, which designs and manufactures chemical injection metering valves for offshore oil and gas companies.

The property at 14120 N.E. 200th St. that Wesmar leases for its headquarters was recently sold for $13.2 million, according to King County records.

The sellers were INCO Properties and VID Enterprises LLC, which acquired the property in 2012 for $9.5 million. The buyer was NWB Wesmar LLC, which is associated with Northwest Building.

A spokeswoman from Wesmar said her company will continue to lease the building and its 4.76-acre site from the new landlord. The building was originally developed in 1998 for Wesmar, which had been leasing it back since the 2012 sale.

Brokers for the property sale, if any, were not announced. The transaction was worth about $160 per square foot.

Northwest Building's portfolio includes Valley Freeway Corporate Park, Totem Lake Commerce Center, Willows Business Center, Woodinville Industrial Park and the Norton Building in Seattle. NWB also owns and develops self-storage facilities on the West Coast.

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