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Everett Expects Funko HQ to Stay Despite Arizona Relocation

Even as its distribution operations shift to Arizona, collectible toymaker Funko will remain entrenched downtown, according to municipal authorities.

The business informed employees at its Everett warehouses on Thursday that their jobs will be relocated to Buckeye, a Phoenix suburb.

However, according to city spokeswoman Julio Cortes, Funko recently increased its corporate presence in Everett, leasing another facility across the street from the headquarters at 2802 Wetmore Ave.

The new location, dubbed “HQ2,” will contain the creative, product development, and marketing teams, according to Cortes.

“Funko’s plan to consolidate part of its warehouse operations into a single, low-cost warehouse in Arizona is a strong sign of its expected continued expansion,” Cortes added. “Funko’s headquarters are and will remain in downtown Everett, and we are seeing the company’s expansion directly as it employs roles across the board.”

Pop culture-inspired vinyl figurines from Funko are recognized for their trademark large heads and wide eyes. Local business leaders regard the headquarters and flagship shop to be highlights of downtown Everett.

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, the corporation leased an 863,000-square-foot warehouse in Buckeye in October. The business intends to employ around 360 workers at the location, according to reports.

A corporate official informed Everett warehouse employees Thursday that they have until Friday to notify their managers if they want to relocate to Arizona, according to an audio recording acquired by The Daily Herald.

According to Vice President of Operations Alex Poole, the business will close five Washington facilities, including four in Everett and one in Puyallup.

According to Poole, the changeover will begin in April and last through 2022.

“The huge development of the firm has caused us to build additional warehouse facilities over the previous many years, and we have now outgrown this footprint,” he added in the tape. “Reducing our business from five buildings to one will result in significant operating savings.” The Buckeye location will provide us the opportunity to expand while also supporting our crucial e-commerce and direct-to-consumer operations.”

He also said that the Arizona office “provides a superior geographic position to better service our U.S. client and consumer base.”

Employees were warned not to reply to press queries and that any questions should be sent to the company’s public relations department.

Following the announcement on Thursday, a few employees contacted The Daily Herald to share their worries. The decision caught several people off guard. A Funko spokeswoman confirmed that a meeting was held on Thursday to update staff on the situation.

“Relocation packages would be included in transfer offers of employment,” Poole informed warehouse workers. “And for individuals who are not willing or unable to relocate at this time, we will provide severance compensation to eligible employees who continue on the position until it is eliminated.”

“Our objective is to provide you with definite dates as soon as possible,” he explained. “Please be advised that after your last day of employment has been established, you will be given at least 60 days’ notice.”

Last year, Funko claimed to employ over 600 people in the United States, the bulk of whom were based in Everett. According to its most current annual report, issued in March 2021, it has two sites in California and a couple more facilities in the United Kingdom, in addition to the Puyallup warehouse.

According to the annual report, Funko’s items are made in Vietnam, China, and Mexico, then delivered to the United States, usually to Everett, where they are kept and sent to customers.

Because the Port of Everett does not often handle consumer goods, the products must go through Seattle and Tacoma to reach Washington.

“It’s unfortunate that the cargo shift to another state has resulted in the loss of this many warehouse jobs and associated trade hours,” Port of Everett spokesperson Cat Soper said in an email, “but with the high demand for warehouse and manufacturing space, we’re hopeful to see jobs and economic opportunity restored quickly.”

Mike Becker launched the firm in Snohomish in 1998. Early goods included bobbleheads and coin banks based on cereal advertising mascots and vintage figures.

Becker sold the firm to Brian Mariotti in 2005, who extended the portfolio by licensing iconic characters from comic books, movies, and television programs.

Funko went public on the Nasdaq Global Select Market with the stock ticker FNKO twelve years later. Funko’s stock ended at $16.93 on Monday.

In the third quarter of last year, Funko posted a net income of $18.4 million, up from $15.6 million the year before.

After Mariotti announced his departure to become the firm’s chief creative officer, Andrew Perlmutter took over as CEO this month. Mariotti is still a member of the company’s board of directors.

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