Slideshow: How two siblings with a Cadillac in a cornfield started Barrett Petfood Innovations
12 Jan 2021
New Business, Business, News, Manufacturing, Economic Development, Workforce, Business Expansion
While plant expansions and improvements at the Brainerd plant helped increase capacity, BPI couldn’t keep up with orders. By 2018, BPI was running three shifts, did not have much capacity left, and was manufacturing products for some of the fastest-growing brands in America. This made it clear to Sarah and Tom that they needed an additional production facility to meet their customers’ needs.
“We don’t want to kick out customers because we’re out of capacity,” Sarah said. “It’s a partnership. For us, it was a natural decision to build a new plant knowing if we continue to grow with our customers, they’ll stay with us.”
When BPI began to look for a location to build a second manufacturing facility, Community Development of Morrison County and the city of Little Falls, Minn. rolled out the red carpet.
“Carol Anderson with Community Development of Morrison County in Little Falls organized a meeting with us and about 30 people from the county, the city, the mayor, USDA, the utility companies, and about everyone else who would be involved if we built a facility in that town,” Tom said. “The group presented a plan to us with an offer to sell us a 52-acre lot right on Highway 10 for a penny in addition to other economic incentives, making it clear they wanted us to build our new plant in Little Falls. So, that was it. We said okay and they have been excellent to work with throughout.”
Located about 30 miles southwest of Brainerd, Little Falls made an offer BPI couldn’t refuse. At that time, BPI had 170 employees in Brainerd, some of whom lived in Little Falls. Tom and Sarah knew it would be difficult to hire an additional 100 or more employees if they located the new plant in Brainerd. This fact also helped cement the decision to build in Little Falls.