Freshpet Expanding in the Lehigh Valley, Creating 100 New Jobs

By Colin McEvoy on August 8, 2018


Renderings of the planned expansion to Freshpet's facility in Hanover Township, Northampton County.

Renderings of the planned expansion to Freshpet’s facility in Hanover Township, Northampton County. (photo courtesy Freshpet)

Freshpet, which has experienced a pattern of rapid growth since first coming to the Lehigh Valley five years ago, has announced plans to expand its manufacturing capacity in the region.

The company, which makes fresh refrigerated food for cats and dogs, has announced it will renovate an existing 50,000 square foot building and build a 90,000 square-foot addition at its campus at Hanover Township, Northampton County.

The expansion project is expected to create 100 new full-time jobs over the next three years, and up to a total of 200 new jobs once running at full capacity, according to Freshpet CEO Billy Cyr.

“The rapid growth of the Freshpet brand behind our Feed the Growth strategy requires us to bring online additional capacity by mid-to-late 2020 to support our continued growth and enable us to serve more pets,” Cyr said.

“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,” he said. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to further advance our manufacturing expertise and expand our Freshpet Kitchens campus in Pennsylvania with the support of our local and state governments.”

The entrance to the Freshpet Kitchens facility in Hanover Township. (photo courtesy Freshpet)

The entrance to the Freshpet Kitchens facility in Hanover Township.

Freshpet has committed to investing more than $84 million in the project. Production start-up is slated for the second half of 2020, subject to the timing of permits and construction.

“Freshpet is a growing national company that makes its innovate pet food products right here in the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). “We are pleased the company is expanding its manufacturing capacity here, and are grateful to the state and Northampton County leaders for working to make that possible. Manufacturing continues to be the second biggest part of the Lehigh Valley’s economy.”

Freshpet’s expansion is being supported by state and local government. The Northampton County Industrial Development Authority, which is administered by LVEDC, has offered Freshpet up to $100,000 as part of its Job Creation Grant program, which is funded through gaming host fee proceeds.

“Freshpet is an important part of the growing manufacturing landscape of Northampton County,” said Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure. “The job creation grant program is intended to give a boost to help retain and attract good manufacturing jobs in the county. We are grateful that Freshpet has chosen to stay and grow here and that we could help to make that happen.”

The Job Creation Grant is provided if the company creates 100 new jobs with an average wage of $24 per hour during the next three years.

Freshpet also received a funding proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for a $500,000 Pennsylvania First grant and $300,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, in collaboration with LVEDC.

“Pennsylvania is proud of the success of Freshpet and excited to be a part of its ongoing growth,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said. “We take particular pride in supporting the growth of companies that are true innovators and, as a result, create sustainable long-term growth and high-quality manufacturing jobs for the people of Pennsylvania.”

This is not the first time Freshpet has expanded its Hanover Township facility. In 2015, it broke ground on an expansion that doubled its capacity there. The following year, the company also opened a new research and development center in the township.

Today, about 221 Freshpet employees are working on manufacturing, research and development, and other support roles on the Freshpet campus, according to the company.

Freshpet also expects the manufacturing expansion to increase the purchase of locally produced ingredients by approximately two-thirds and support additional jobs at local third-party warehousing and logistics providers. The facility will also include R&D space and a pilot plant facility to enable test runs of new products.

LVEDC is Seeking to Hear Your Stories in Each Lehigh Valley Municipality

This column was written by Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of External Affairs and Redevelopment, for the August 2, 2018 issue of “Quarterly Connections,” a quarterly newsl[...]

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