Pet food maker to expand, add 100 employees

By - Last modified: December 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM

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Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson

A fresh pet food manufacturer will be bringing 100 jobs to Northampton County with the opening of a new plant in Hanover Township next year.

"We love Hanover Township. We liked the Pennsylvania business climate and Hanover Township was very helpful to us," said Freshpet CEO Richard Thompson.

The company is headquartered in Secaucus, N.J. and manufactures preservative-free refrigerated pet food. Freshpet currently operates a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Quakertown that employs 100 workers. With the humanization of pets, the company has grown substantially since its creation almost five years ago and now sells to 9,000 locations nationally including Target, Giant, Wal-Mart, Petco and PetSmart locations.

Looking for room to grow, the company chose to open a second location at a 60,000-square-foot facility at 176 Commerce Way located in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park. The building was sold for $2.9 million at the end of June, according to Northampton County records.

Thompson said the company plans on investing $25 million into the new facility which will be "state-of-the-art" and "designed from the ground-up." "It will be the first fresh pet food manufacturing facility built from the ground-up in the United States," he said.

After the extensive internal renovations are completed, the company hopes to have 80,000 square feet available for plant operations. The first phase of the plant's operations will open in March and the project will be completed in July, said Thompson. Once the plant is completed, Thompson said he hopes it will bring $250 million in revenue to the company.

The building was the former home of Flavorite Foods. Freshpet began applying for permits for the operation in June, said Yvonne Kutz, zoning officer with Hanover Township's code enforcement office.

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