Local News

Good luck and elephants grace Winsome's unique new building

Woodinville's largest building dedicated

granite elephants

Two 5-ton solid granite elephants were lowered into place on SR-202 last week at Winsome Trading, Inc.'s new building. Their trunks are raised high for good luck.
Photo by Jeff Switzer/Woodinville Weekly.

new building by Jeff Switzer
The SR-202 industrial corridor has a new building that will catch the eyes of drivers-by. Two 5-ton elephants, trunks raised high for good luck, were lowered onto their new homes on pedestals in front of 16111 SR-202, Winsome Trading, Inc.'s new 160,000-square-foot distribution center.
   Taking 1 1/2 years to carve the elephants from two 9-ton pieces of solid granite, they cost nearly $20,000 before they were shipped from Thailand and lowered by cranes in Woodinville, some 5,000 miles from where they started.
   When the large wooden crates were finally opened, owner Somchai Chaipatanapong was ecstatic. "Aren't they wonderful?! They're beautiful!" Chaipatanapong said. Elephants carved by the same people adorn the government's art building in Thailand.
   As "eights" are good luck in Chinese numerology, Chaipatanapong held a ceremony dedicating the new building on Jan. 18 at 8 a.m., when incense was burned and good luck bells were hung over the front door of the building. Nine people came from Thailand for the dedication.
   Five jade rings are built into the building's foundation to also serve as good luck: one in each cornerstone and one in the center of the building.
   The Chinese art of design, Feng Shui, was used in the design of the building. "The hill behind the building and the river in front of the building make for very good Feng Shui," said the building's architect, Paul Wu.
   The floor is unique in this area: a laser grid system was used to make it "super-flat," a new technology seen more on the East Coast, with Winsome's being the first on the West Coast.
   The building is Woodinville's largest under one roof, is made of only steel and concrete tilts, and has an innovative "large drop" sprinkler system, rather than the usual spray nozzles. There are no combustible materials in the structure of the building.
   The warehouse will serve as a major distribution point for Winsome home furnishings, receiving goods from all over the Pacific Rim and distributing them throughout the U.S. to stores such as The Bon Marche, Mervyn's, Costco, Macy's, and Bloomingdale's.
   Winsome has grown from a small husband-and-wife company in 1977 to 150 employees today.