LOS ANGELES BUSINESS JOURNAL — Seattle investment bank Cascadia Capital has decided to head south, opening its first L.A. office last month.

“We’ve been serving L.A. from Seattle for many years,” said Managing Director Paul Louie, an L.A. native who will run the new outpost. “But our practice has grown to where it warranted us having a full-time presence here.”

The new office is in downtown L.A.’s City National Plaza.  Louie said the city center’s renaissance made it an appealing location to set up shop, but being downtown also made sense given the geographic footprint of the firm’s local clients.

Louie is head of the firm’s automotive aftermarket practice, which will also be based out of L.A. Many of Cascadia’s clients in that sector are located in places such as inland Empire and north Orange County.

Cascadia launched its automotive aftermarket practice in 2013 and has done five deals already.  But Louie said it was important to have more of a presence in Los Angeles given the density of businesses in that space in the area, and the fact that the industry’s trade association, Specialty Equipment Market Association, is headquartered in Diamond Bar.

He also said Cascadia has been able to gain a foothold doing deals in the industry without facing too much competition thus far.

“It seems to be an underrepresented or underserved industry,” he said.

Louie still feels like there’s plenty of runway – or freeway – left to do deals in the automotive aftermarket space.

“The PE community is very much consolidating this industry,” he said.  “There are plenty of opportunities in front of us.  It’s a healthy M&A market and there are owners seeing other companies bought by PE firms for pretty good valuations.”