Percussionaire moving to Kootenai

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Percussion-aire board Chair Cathy Bird Natoni and CEO Mark Baillie outside the company’s new facility at the former Coldwater Creek campus in Kootenai. (Courtesy photo)

SAGLE — Percussionaire Corp. is relocating from Lake Pend Oreille’s Glengary Bay to the former Coldwater Creek distribution center.

Mark Baillie, CEO of the medical ventilator manufacturer, and the real estate firm L3M announced the move to Kootenai on Friday.

“The entire Percussionaire team, comprised of approximately 50 local employees, will be moving all of Percussionaire’s research, development, and manufacturing facilities from its home at Glengary Bay, to the new campus location. Moving has already started, and we hope to be fully operational in the new facility by mid-summer,” Baillie said in a statement.

Percussionaire will join Litehouse Foods and other businesses operating at the former Coldwater Creek campus.

Percussionaire was founded more than 30 years ago by Dr. Forrest Morton Bird, an aviator and inventor who died in 2015 at the age of 94.

Cathy Bird Natoni, Bird’s daughter, said the relocation will significantly increase Percussionaire’s ability to serve its patients around the world.

“It’s a fitting farewell to a place where, for over three decades, local hands have pumped life into lungs worldwide. It’s a proud moment for all of us as we carry my father’s torch across the lake. His vision continues to light our path for shaping the future of respiratory care with the people of Sandpoint,” said Natoni, who chairs Percussionaire’s board of directors.

Percussionaire’s current facilities are in a picturesque yet somewhat remote location. The new location brings it closer to highway and other infrastructure.

Luke Webster, a partner at L3M, said Percussionaire will occupy a facility that will provide nearly 40,000-square-feet of office, manufacturing and distribution space at the northerly end of Coldwater Creek’s former distribution center.

“We are pleased to be able to welcome Dr. Forrest Bird’s great technology company to the campus and hope it will continue to spur growth and high-tech manufacturing in the Sandpoint area,” Webster said.

Coldwater Creek, a catalogue and online retailer of women’s apparel, filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and ceased operations. Litehouse Foods — maker of dressings, dips, cheeses and herbs — went on to purchase part of Coldwater Creek’s facilities for its operations.

Jeff Heltborg, a respiratory clinical specialist with Legacy Hospitals in Portland, Ore., praised Percussionaire’s tech.

“Percussionaire has a great technology that not only saves lives, but greatly improves the quality of life for the millions of people with serious lung-related problems,” Heltborg said.

Baillie said the new facility will make its public debut later this year.

“We plan on hosting an open house for the community this fall that will show Bonner County residents the legacy of Dr. Forrest Bird’s work in helping people ‘breathe easier,’” Baillie said.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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