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Pet food manufacturer plans $84M expansion, 100 new jobs in Northampton County

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(FILE PHOTO/BRIAN PEDERSEN) Freshpet hosted an event for an expansion at its manufacturing plant in Hanover Township, Northampton County in 2015.
(FILE PHOTO/BRIAN PEDERSEN) Freshpet hosted an event for an expansion at its manufacturing plant in Hanover Township, Northampton County in 2015.

Freshpet Inc., a fresh dog and cat food manufacturer, will expand its production operations in Hanover Township, Northampton County, investing more than $84 million in the project.

Gov. Tom Wolf made the announcement this morning, noting the expansion will create 100 new full-time jobs in the next three years. In addition, the company received state funding and support from local organizations to aid the investment.

“The 100 high-quality manufacturing jobs this project will create is great news for Northampton County workers and their families,” Wolf said in a statement. “Additionally, Freshpet’s focus on buying its ingredients locally means this expansion is good for Pennsylvania’s farmers and food ingredient processors, as well.”

Freshpet manufactures in a 100,000-square-foot facility on 14.2 acres on North Commerce Way in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park IV. To accommodate projected growth, the company will complete renovations, construct an addition and buy new equipment. The company plans additional job growth beyond the 100 new jobs once the facility is running at full capacity.

“The rapid growth of the Freshpet brand requires us to bring online additional capacity by mid-to-late 2020 to support our continued growth and enable us to serve more pets,” said Billy Cyr, CEO of Freshpet, in a statement. “It also allows us to provide more career opportunities for the dedicated and talented employees who have helped deliver the success we have had so far.”

Freshpet is based in Secaucus, N.J.

Freshpet received a funding proposal from the state Department of Community & Economic Development for a $500,000 Pennsylvania First grant and $300,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits, which the company will receive upon creation of the jobs. Additionally, the project will receive support from the Manufacturing Tax Credit program as well as the Workforce Development Board and Pennsylvania CareerLink.

The Governor’s Action Team coordinated the project in collaboration with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. The action team is a group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating to or expanding in Pennsylvania.

Freshpet moved into its facility in 2013, with help from LVEDC.

The company expanded in 2015 and with its newest expansion, it also will receive up to $100,000 as part of its Job Creation grant program through the Northampton County Industrial Development Authority, administered by LVEDC.

The county funds the program through gaming host fee dollars (tax revenue from Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem), said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC. The county provides the grant if the company creates 100 new jobs with an average wage of $24 per hour, he said.

“That was a significant factor in the effort to keep Freshpet here and growing in the Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said. “They were looking for alternatives. They are a national brand that is growing; their distribution is national. They looked at other states.”

Freshpet foods offer fresh meats, poultry and vegetables in more than 15,000 stores across North America.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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