FreshPet Kitchens Expands Facility, Adds Jobs After Only Two Years in Lehigh Valley
By Colin McEvoy on August 7, 2015
Just under two years ago, Freshpet Kitchens first opened their doors in the Lehigh Valley. Now, they’re already growing.
The company, which makes fresh refrigerated food for cats and dogs, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 7 for the 32,000 square-foot expansion to its Hanover Township, Northampton County facility, which will double its capacity by mid-2016.
“After just two years, we’re adding another $25 to $30 million expansion on what we’re doing here,” Richard Thompson, Freshpet CEO, said to a crowd of about 100 people. “We’re celebrating the successes we’ve had, and we’re looking forward to celebrating the success we hope to have on phase two.”
The project is expected to create up to 60 new jobs, in addition to the 120 employees already there. It is also expected to create hundreds of construction jobs during the building period.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony, lauded Freshpet’s expansion as one of many manufacturing success stories in the state of Pennsylvania.
“Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the United States is still the world’s number one manufacturer by far,” Toomey said. “There are a tremendous number of success stories in Pennsylvania, and if we do the right thing in Harrisburg and Washington — pushing back on excessive regulation, having a more sensible tax code, more sensible energy policy — there is no limit to what we can do, economically in general, and in manufacturing in particular.”
Freshpet Kitchens first opened its existing 60,000-square-foot facility in October 2013, and immediately signaled its intention to pursue an eventual expansion. Freshpet dog and cat food can be found in more than 14,000 retail stores across the U.S. and Canada.
The groundbreaking ceremony was also attended by Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) CEO and President Don Cunningham, as well as U.S. Rep Charlie Dent, state Reps. Marcia Hahn and Mario Scavello, and Hanover Township Supervisors Chairman John N. Diacogiannis.
“We’ve got a great team of folks that are working to help grow the Lehigh Valley, grow Pennsylvania,” Toomey said. “Rich had a lot of choices where could’ve gone. He decided to be here in Pennsylvania because it makes good economic sense for his investors, his employees, his customers, and I’m delighted he chose the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania.”
The expansion will be completed in two phases. The first phase, recently completed, was focused on repositioning the inbound docks to optimize the flow of fresh ingredients through the Freshpet Kitchens.
The second phase, currently in progress, is concentrated on setting up the infrastructure, including two additional state-of-the-art production lines custom built to prepare Freshpet’s proprietary recipes, according to the company.
Because Freshpet’s top priority is the safety of its pets, the extension will also include an advanced quality assurance lab, where microbiology testing for food safety and quality will be conducted.
As part of the Freshpet Kitchens, the new addition will be registered with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and earn a Safe Quality Food Level 3 Certification, the highest honor of its kind.
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