Power Equipment Systems moves into bigger facility

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Activity center entrance of the new PES facility

Power Equipment Systems (PES) — a Salem, Ore.-based family business that’s grown into one of the nation’s premier wholesale distributors of lawn and garden equipment, parts, and engines — has expanded into a renovated Willamette Valley warehouse complex that formerly housed a semiconductor silicon wafer plant.

The cavernous main warehouse, which stood vacant near the Salem Parkway for years after the dot-com crash — aside from a rather feisty owl — is now humming with activity following an $8.6-million investment to purchase and improve the eight-acre campus.

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Aerial view of the new PES facility

Inside the 75,000-square-foot facility, racks of tools, parts, belts, equipment and even riding mowers are stacked and catalogued until they are shipped to repair shops and dealers across 12 western states.

PES was founded in Salem in 1979 by William “Bill” Burrell, who successfully built the business until he passed away from cancer in 1995. The privately held company is now run jointly by the wife-and-husband team of Burrell’s daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Pete Yunker. Together, they have led the effort to make PES a regional powerhouse in the niche outdoor power equipment industry.

The late founder was known for his affinity for dapper dress, including an array of plaid golfing pants. A pair of his pants is framed in the stairwell of the corporate office.

“Power Equipment Systems is part of the Salem community and where we call home,” said Kelly Yunker. “We couldn’t imagine growing anywhere else.”

Pete Yunker added, “We couldn’t be more pleased with how this project turned out, with the help of our real estate and construction partners. The additional space allows us to serve our customers more efficiently and be able to say yes to more opportunities.”

Rehabilitating the former Sumco Mitsubishi property allowed the company to more than double the capacity of the former PES warehouse. In its heyday, Sumco Mitsubishi employed more than 1,000 people in its Salem silicon wafer facilities before the company’s business shriveled in the early 2000s.

PES now employs 40 people, including call center personnel, warehouse crew and a sales team that interacts with independent dealers and repair shops across the West. An average of 600 orders ship daily, via small parcel carriers and pallet load carriers. The new facility gives the company growing room for more products and staff.

The campus includes an additional 35,000 square feet of space that is available for lease.

PES carries the following lines: Cub Cadet, RedMax, Columbia, Jonsered, Troy-Bilt, Kohler Engines, and Remington. The project was made possible by Salem-area real estate, financing and construction experts, including Mosar Commercial Properties, Bank of America, and CD Redding.