Thurston County commissioner Wayne Fournier eyes big developments for Grand Mound in run for reelection


Residents of Southwest Washington might soon be able to get a few swings in at Topgolf before finishing their night off with a Double Double and Animal Style fries, if a county commissioner has his way.

During a campaign kickoff event Friday evening in Tenino, Thurston County Commissioner Wayne Fournier said he’s directed staff to begin preliminary work that could bring Topgolf, a popular entertainment center-style driving range, and In-N-Out, a California-based burger restaurant, to Grand Mound.

“The improvements the county is making to that area, I believe we can make a strong case for both of these companies to make a home here,” Fournier said.

Fournier, a Democrat, made the announcement as he formally launched a reelection campaign for Thurston County commissioner, a year after first winning a seat on the board. Fournier will face competition from Rob Laymon, who did not list a party preference with the Washington Secretary of State office.

Fournier narrowly won his 2023 campaign, knocking off independent candidate Vivian Eason by about 500 votes out of more than 74,000 ballots.

As In-N-Out begins developing its first two locations in Washington, Fournier said he sees an opportunity to capitalize, particularly after plans for a new location in northern Oregon stalled. According to Fournier, he has directed staff to conduct a site analysis in the Grand Mound Urban Growth Area “so that we can find them a home here.”

According to Fournier, fellow Commissioner Carolina Mejia, who also faces reelection this year, has been in contact with In-N-Out’s real estate company, and the traffic from the nearby Great Wolf Lodge makes “a strong” case for the quick service burger chain. Mejia does not have a registered opponent for her seat.

In February, In-N-Out announced it would open its first Washington location in Ridgefield. According to The Reflector, the restaurant will be 4,354 square feet with 76 parking spaces on its property and a drive-thru with a proposed capacity of 46-plus cars.

In addition to In-N-Out, Fournier said he is optimistic that the county can lure Topgolf to Grand Mound. The company has four locations in Washington, though the nearest one is in Renton.

Leonard Hernandez, who was hired as Thurston County manager in March, successfully lobbied the company to open a location in Ontario, California, while serving as chief executive officer. The location, which was the first to open in Southern California, opened its doors in March 2022. Topgolf has 80 locations in eight countries.

At a groundbreaking ceremony, officials estimated the location would create approximately 400 private-sector jobs and $625,000 in annual revenue to County Regional Parks over the initial 20-year ground lease agreement.

The open-air, three-level facility was built on 13.7 acres of County-owned land and includes 102 climate-controlled outdoor hitting bays, a restaurant and bar, an outdoor patio, a rooftop terrace and private event space.

Fournier has made economic growth and job creation a core tenet of his reelection campaign, which also includes education and youth development, health and safety, and sustainable development.

As commissioner, Fournier sits on the Chehalis Basin Flood Authority, the Chehalis Basin Partnership, the Economic Development Council, the Lucky Eagle 2% Committee, the North Lewis Industrial Access Committee, the Transportation Policy Committee and the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.