An oversized photo of pancakes hanging on the wall. The smell of lemon pound cake traveling through the hallways. Baking scientists in white lab coats testing new recipes. When we found out the maker of the first “just-add-water” pancake mix was based in our backyard, we flipped out. Continental Mills, a third-generation family-owned maker of breakfast, baking, and snack brands, calls Tukwila home. The company’s flagship brand, Krusteaz, was first developed by the Home Economics Department at the University of Washington in the 1940s. Today, the company is still relatively small, and it embraces that as an advantage, celebrating its staff and successes along the way. We wish these photos were scratch and sniff.

Behind the Scenes: Creatives work on packaging and branding in the Design Lab.

Behind the Scenes: Creatives work on packaging and branding in the Design Lab. Photos by Rachel Coward.

 

Scratch and Sniff: Mouth-watering photos of Continental Mills products fill the halls.

Scratch and Sniff: Mouth-watering photos of Continental Mills products fill the halls.

 

Icing on the Cake: Recipe trials help improve baking mixes.

Icing on the Cake: Recipe trials help improve baking mixes.

 

Meeting Space: The office was designed to include comfortable nooks for quick meetings.

Meeting Space: The office was designed to include comfortable nooks for quick meetings.

 

Come On In: Grab a complimentary coffee in the lobby of the Business Center.

Come On In: Grab a complimentary coffee in the lobby of the Business Center.

 

Testing 1, 2, 3: The baking lab is a space for product testing and innovation.

Testing 1, 2, 3: The baking lab is a space for product testing and innovation.

 

Back in Time: Historical images of various Continental Mills products and events line the common areas.

Back in Time: Historical images of various Continental Mills products and events line the common areas.

 

On Tour: Props from a promo tour for the company’s Buck Wild chips make the office a fun gathering place.

On Tour: Props from a promo tour for the company’s Buck Wild chips make the office a fun gathering place.

 

Lunch Time: Snacks and drinks are available at the office for a convenient, quick lunch.

Lunch Time: Snacks and drinks are available at the office for a convenient, quick lunch.

 

Taste Test: Feedback is collected from taste-testing sessions in sampling booths at the office.

Taste Test: Feedback is collected from taste-testing sessions in sampling booths at the office.

 

FUN FACTS

  • In the 1970s, the company set out to serve pancake samples with a fully equipped pancake van called the Krusteaz Kurtesy Kitchen.
  • The company has four manufacturing locations: Kent; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Manhattan, Kansas; and Effingham, Illinois.
  • It all started with an easy-to-make pie crust, and now the company makes over 650 different products, including baking and breakfast mixes and snacks.
  • The company partners with many food-focused nonprofits, including Food Lifeline, FareStart, and Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, to contribute financially and provide pancake breakfasts.

THE DETAILS

  • Interior Architect: Burgess Architecture and Design
  • Contractor: Segale Properties, exterior building and shell; GLY Construction, interior
  • Square footage: 84,250
  • Employees: 214 (in Tukwila location)
  • Built: March 2011
  • Website: continentalmills.com
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