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Port Madison forays into the construction business

SUQUAMISH — One of the North End’s most prominent commercial and economic development entities has broken ground on a new venture.

Port Madison Enterprises, owned and operated by the Suquamish Tribe, is going into the construction business and recently created the subsidiary Port Madison Enterprises Construction Corporation (PMECC).

Although nationally and locally the construction sector has taken a hard hit, PME Chief Executive Officer Russell Steele said the time is right to break into the field.

“We think there’s a lot of potential and an area where tribal members will want to work and grow in,” he said.

Construction is also another way for PME to diversify its revenue-generating sources.

Steele explained in 2001 the PME-operated Clearwater Casino generated 92 percent of the revenue.

Since then, PME has grown to include the Kiana Lodge, The Masi Shoppe, Longhouse Texaco, Suquamish Village Shell, Suquamish Subway and Agate Pass Business Park. It’s projected only 68 percent of PME’s revenue will be derived from the casino in 2009.

“When I got here we had one retail shop and now we have three and I think we can systematically grow the business in other areas,” Steele said. “I don’t think anybody in this economy wants all their eggs in one basket. Diversification gives us a lot more to stand on and opportunities for tribal employment.”

PMECC’s first venture was the acquisition of Liberty Bay Excavating LLC, an organization that has already completed several projects for PME.

Steele said PME will use the new subsidiary to complete upcoming projects for the tribe as well as bidding on contracts outside the Kitsap area.

But first will be an expansion on the Masi Shop, as the store itself is some 30 years old.

“The store itself needs to be rebuilt,” Steele said. “It’s not big enough.”

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