Growth is the latest pet project for Stella & Chewy’s as the pet food maker gears up to expand its Oak Creek manufacturing facility and headquarters.
During the three-year buildout of the company’s 164,000-square-foot facility, the expansion is projected to involve a $30 million capital investment, and when complete the expansion will create 82 new jobs in addition to the company’s 200 current employees. In addition, an economic modeling study estimates that the project could indirectly generate a further 127 jobs in the region. Those 209 total jobs are projected to generate an estimated $1.7 million in state income tax revenue over a five-year period.
The additional real estate and equipment are needed because of the company’s strong growth, and CEO Marc Hill says the company wanted to stay in Oak Creek.
“Stella & Chewy’s excellent growth in sales and market share of its high-quality premium pet food products is requiring expanded manufacturing capability,” Hill said. “The company is proud to call Wisconsin home and excited to expand in the state.”
Stella & Chewy’s was founded in New York City in 2003 by Marie Moody after she rescued Chewy, a sick dog, from an animal shelter. Moody began feeding Chewy a veterinarian-advised raw diet of meat, fruit and vegetables. The dog’s improved health led her to start producing raw pet food to sell to New York City pet stores. The company later moved to Wisconsin and now offers dinners made with grass-fed beef, cage-free poultry, wild-caught fish and organic fruits and vegetables. The meals are sold at more than 6,000 pet stores in the U.S. and Canada.
“We are pleased that a leading national manufacturer like Stella & Chewy’s is taking advantage of our great regional workforce and friendly business climate by choosing to expand in our region,” said Pat O’Brien, executive director of the Milwaukee 7, the regional economic development organization. “Food manufacturers play a large role in our expanding regional economy, and we are pleased to support their efforts.”
WEDC is supporting the project by authorizing up to $500,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of tax credits Stella & Chewy’s will receive is contingent upon the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment during that period.