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Pomegranate Communications leaving Petaluma

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 9:26 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 9:26 a.m.

Arts publisher Pomegranate Communications, a Petaluma company with about 30 employees, is leaving Sonoma County after more than a quarter century and moving to Portland.

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Katie Burke, co-owner of Pomegranate Communications, is shown in a 2003 file photo. The company is leaving Sonoma County and moving to Portland.

JEFF KAN LEE/Press Democrat

The company, which produces art books, calendars and other products, was drawn to Oregon by the prospect of lower rents and an attractive, urban environment.

The new facility, located about 10 minutes from the Portland International Airport, will be roughly the same size as Pomegranate's current space, but the 10-year lease will cost about 45 percent less.

“We're saving a lot of money,” said co-owner Katie Burke.

Burke and her husband, founder Thomas Burke, love Portland and wanted to relocate to a more urban environment that could offer 84,000 square feet of warehouse and office space at affordable rates.

The company employs about 30 people, including the Burkes and Thomas Burke's son, Darius, a senior director. The three principals and six staff members will make the move to Portland.

Thomas Burke began the company 45 years ago in San Francisco. It came to Sonoma County in the late 1980s and over the years has been located in both Petaluma and Rohnert Park.

The company's products include art books, calendars, cards, paper gift items and puzzles for children and adults.

“In the past five years, we've gotten into jigsaw puzzles in a big way,” Burke said.

Independent bookstores and shops have been a key outlet for Pomegranate products.

A decade ago the company had about 55 employees. The numbers declined through attrition, Burke said, mostly because “we just got more efficient.”

She emphasized that the company would stay at about the same staffing level in Oregon as in Petaluma.

“This is not a downsizing move,” she said.

The Portland facility already has a few employees, and most of those transferring from Petaluma will begin work there in two weeks.

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