Nestlé Purina PetCare recently announced an estimated $450 million investment to open a new factory in Eden, N.C., to meet increasing demand for its high-quality, nutritious pet foods.
The expansion is part of a broader growth plan for Purina that began last year with the grand opening of the company's newest wet pet food factory and distribution center in Hartwell, Ga., the company said in its announcement.
The new Eden factory will join Purina's network of 21 existing manufacturing locations across the U.S. and will become operational in 2022.
"Eden is Purina's first manufacturing operation in North Carolina, and through this expansion, we build on our more than 90-year history of making science-based dog and cat foods that pet owners trust," Nestlé Purina U.S. president Nina Leigh Krueger said "Despite the challenging times we have all been living in, Purina has remained resilient. This strategic and long-term investment demonstrates our commitment to providing high-quality nutrition for pets. We're thankful for the great partnership at the state and local levels, and we are excited to be a part of this community now and for many years to come."
Located along the Virginia border, the new factory in Eden will revitalize a former brewery, transforming it into an innovative, technically advanced pet food manufacturing facility, Purina said. Preliminary plans call for a $450 million investment to renovate the existing structure in Rockingham County and produce leading dry dog and cat food brands, including Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE and Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets.
"At Purina, we are passionate about supporting the communities where we live and work, and we look forward to bringing that passion to Rockingham County," Purina vice president, manufacturing, Nolan Terry said. "The property is in good working condition, and we have an incredible opportunity to transform this into a world-class pet food facility. We also see great potential to work with a highly skilled workforce in the region and provide a chance to start a new chapter of their career at Purina. Great people and a great location is a win-win."
The factory will be located on 1,300-plus acres near the border of North Carolina and Virginia and will be approximately 1.3 million sq. ft. in size. Purina plans to employ more than 300 people at its new factory location by 2024 while also increasing its use of third-party employment and local and regional economic development. Many of the jobs at Purina's new factory will include professional staff, production operators, technical staff and engineers.
Purina said it conducted a national search for its newest factory location and explored multiple potential sites in North Carolina and other states as part of this project. After a detailed analysis, the proposal from Rockingham County, the city of Eden and North Carolina state officials provides Purina with the ability to serve pet owners and retain and attract top talent over the long term.
"We are ecstatic Nestlé Purina has chosen Eden and Rockingham County as their new manufacturing home," said Mark Richardson, chair of the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners. "The news of their expansion into this property brings so much light and revitalization to our community. We are anxious to watch this site come back to life with new employees as well as tax base but, more importantly, excited to see it occupied by such a well-known and respected company."