Two icons of San Diego history came together Friday when Bumble Bee Seafoods formally opened its new headquarters in a historic candy factory across from Petco Park.
Bumble Bee, the largest branded seafood company in North America, moved its headquarters staff of 130 from Kearny Mesa to the historic Showley Bros. Candy Factory.
The three-story brick building was preserved during the construction of Petco Park, but remained vacant until Bumble Bee’s move. The building is owned by the Padres and leased to Bumble Bee.
“It is just getting back to our roots, and you’ve got to admit it’s a very exciting place to be,” said Chris Lischewski, president and chief executive officer of Bunble Bee. “We love the energy and vibrancy of downtown.”
The formal opening included brief speeches by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former mayor and now Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Sanders, and Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler, and an official ribbon cutting. Bumblee employees and guests from nearby offices were treated to food and drink while a band played and a giant Bumble Bee balloon flew overhead.
Lischewski said Bumblee Bee was formed in 1897 in Oregon, but moved in the 1970s to San Diego, where it operated a tuna cannery under the Coronado Bridge.
“This is tremendous for downtown. It’s bringing back a piece of history,” Sanders said, adding that he recalled the old tuna factory.
Protesters from Greenpeace briefly appeared outside Petco Park, but were met with employees carrying a banner that read, “science is the key to tuna sustainability.” Lischewski said Bumblee Bee works closely with the World Wildlife Fund to ensure sustainability of seafood stocks.
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