EVERETT, Wash. — An estimated 300 to 400 Funko warehouse workers have received word that their jobs are moving to Buckeye, Arizona, outside Phoenix.
Sources inside the company told KING 5 the news came out of nowhere.
City of Everett officials said they weren't advised, either, but the move wasn't completely unexpected.
"I'm not terribly surprised because it's such a hot market now in warehousing," said Dan Eernissee, Everett's director of economic development.
Funko operates five warehouses in western Washington, four of those are in Everett and one is in Puyallup.
Employees have been told not to speak with reporters but one of them reached out to KING 5 saying, "The meeting smacked of corporate cowardice and impropriety. Much of the workforce is composed of local people from Everett and wider Snohomish County, and they do have family ties here."
Funko moved its corporate headquarters to Everett in August 2017 to great fanfare. The downtown headquarters is part office space, part retail funhouse.
Fans of the company's trademark bobbleheads have often lined up around the block to purchase the collectibles.
On Thursday night, the company told its workers it has outgrown its multiple Washington warehouses.
According to Eernissee, it makes sense for Funko to move all of its warehouse work under one roof, and the move could actually be good for Everett in the long run.
"This is just a sign of growth and continued strength in the Everett market," said Eernissee.
In a written statement a company spokesperson told KING 5, "We will be working with our distribution center employees to support them through the transition, including potential relocation and/or other opportunities within the organization."
That spokesperson confirmed the company headquarters will remain in Everett and Eernissee said he has no reason to doubt that.
"Funko has consistently embraced Everett. They could have moved so many places but they were born and raised here in Everett."
The relocation is scheduled to start in April and be finished by the end of the year.
The empty warehouse space is expected to be filled quickly, said Eernissee.
"The warehousing stuff Funko was doing was good, but we can replace it. I get phone calls asking for 100,000 square feet. Those are the ones I anticipate seeing."
Funko workers have been offered severance packages and help relocating to Arizona, if they desire.