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Upchurch catalog goes island style

One of Whidbey Island’s largest private employers has found a way to promote the island lifestyle, boost a few local businesses, and have some fun while staying focused on selling its own products.

The 2004 Scivex catalog, produced by the marketing department at Oak Harbor’s Upchurch Scientific, includes well over 100 pages depicting thousands of manufactured products available to more than 60,000 clients and suppliers throughout the world.

One might expect such a catalog to be a bit dry, with its listings of valves, tubing, filters, frits, fittings and connections used in fluidic scientific instruments. After all, Scivex, the parent company of Upchurch Scientific, sells to a limited market of specialists.

But even for the un-scientific, the Scivex catalog is interesting, thanks to creative photography, natural field notes, and pictures of Upchurch employees posed in amusing fashion in island settings.

For example, Sandy Oviatt, a purchasing employee, is shown pointing out a Sasquatch, and Bambi Moran in shipping is shown being carried away by a giant bald eagle. Elsewhere, Becky Wright, Galane Socha, Randy Mogck and Mike Flowers “stand” on pilings in Puget Sound at Possession Point.

In fact, all the employees were photographed in a studio, and their images were placed in the outdoor settings by a computer program. The process puts the workers in Whidbey Island scenes while making them famous to the thousands who receive the catalog. “We want people to know who they’re dealing with,” said Mark Kincy, marketing manager. “Most of our people get pretty excited about it.”

These Whidbey Island images will be seen just about everywhere that someone may need a part for a fluidic instrument. “The catalogs go to practically every country in the world,” said Kincy.

That’s good news for such companies as Whidbey Island Winery, Greenbank Cellars, Penn Cove Shellfish, Seabolt’s Smokehouse, and others mentioned, complete with their Web site addresses, in the catalog.

Even Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley is included, with a plug for his popular pulp fiction, which includes “Double Bluff” and his most recent, “Silent Proof.”

The colorful catalog is replete with pictures of Whidbey’s natural wonders, among them the banana slug, seagull, orca, tree frog, barnacle and bracken fern, with field notes telling a bit about each. One can imagine a potential customer in China, for example, taking a fancy to the images and deciding to visit Whidbey Island. Or at least order some of its famous smoked salmon.

Kincy said he set out with this year’s catalog to tell customers about the island because of the interest they always express over the telephone and to salespeople. “They’re always interested in our island, so I thought ‘let’s feature it, show them what the island’s like’,” he said. “It’s a story I wanted to tell, and it promotes the island.”

Kincy has no idea how much wine, salmon, mussels or mystery novels the catalog will sell, but he hopes the island businesses are helped by the effort.

“I hope they benefit,” he said. “It’d be icing on the cake.”

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