Firearms-related firms set up shop at port incubator, Lewiston Tribune, July 22, 2018

Pair of businesses serving the weapons industry creating new activity at Lewiston startup center

By ELAINE WILLIAMS of the Tribune

Two new tenants at the Port of Lewiston’s Incubator Building recently tripled the facility’s occupancy — from one business to three.

Aluminum firearms parts, such as scope bases and rings, are manufactured on computer numerically controlled machines at Pure-Precision, a company owned by Charlie Bell.

Pure-Precision joins Hells Canyon Armory, which specializes in gun barrels, at the incubator at 1708 Sixth Ave N. in Lewiston.

Bell’s business employs his wife and another staff member, subcontracting with other companies that do similar work for smaller runs on parts for agricultural, automotive and aerospace businesses.

“I make pretty much what anybody wants to buy,” Bell said.

The incubator building had only one tenant, World Wide Abrasives, after the departure of Seekins Precision and Clearwater Cellars for larger locations in other parts of Lewiston about four years ago. Filling space there has taken time because the port has been selective, manager David Doeringsfeld said, focusing on ventures that meet the strategy for the space.

Tenants are given a three-year discount on rent before shifting to market value in the fourth year. In exchange, the port limits the incubator to companies with the potential to generate living-wage jobs.

“One of the prerequisites for the incubator is that they produce a product,” Doeringfeld said. “We’re emphasizing manufacturing and job growth.”

With World Wide Abrasives, Pure-Precision and Hells Canyon Armory in place, the incubator now only has about 4,500 square feet open, split between two spots. “We’re pleased the incubator is filling back up,” Doeringsfeld said.

What the port and the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley offer are helping his business thrive, Bell said.

His first location in Lewiston was also in North Lewiston. But at the port he has more space and is in the process of hiring a third and possibly a fourth employee, he said.

Bell praised the port for maintaining a balanced budget and providing clear expectations for its tenants.

“Every tenant I went around and talked to had nothing but great things to say about the port and its management,” he said.

He moved Pure-Precision to Lewiston from the small community of Naples between Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry about one year ago. He views the city’s vibrant industrial base as an asset.

Pure-Precision has completed jobs for the rifle and rifle part manufacturer Seekins and for ammunition maker Vista Outdoor.

“This puts us in a little better position with those people,” Bell said.

He’s also developed relationships with people at other valley business, such as Clarkston welded aluminum boat maker Thunder Jet and Jetco Machine and Fabrication, which provides welding and fabrication for a variety of industries.

“We like the area,” he said.

Williams may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2261.