Ground broken for new North Freeze Dry facility in northeast Little Falls

23 Jul 2021

Government, News, Manufacture, Economic Development, Business, New Business

Ground was broken Tuesday, July 20, for the North Dry Freeze facility project, with construction set to begin this month. The 87,800 square foot manufacturing facility will produce shelf-stable, freeze-dried pet food, which will then be taken to Barrett Petfood’s extrusion facility across the road, to be mixed in with the kibble being manufactured there.

The joint venture between Barrett and Anchor Ingredients is a project estimated at $30 million, with plans to employ more than 50 people, with a future vision to expand. North Freeze Dry purchased 24.8 acres of property in northeast Little Falls, which was owned by the Little Falls Community School District. Construction is set to be completed by the end of this year, with the plant fully operational by July 2022.

Nor-Son Construction is the design-builder on this project. Little Falls Mayor Greg Zylka said, “They believe this could be to Little Falls what Larson Boats was to Little Falls at one time. This will be the Larson Boats that we used to have, because they’re talking about more expansion already, doubling their first facility in size. Personally, for me, I just think we’re so fortunate that they have so much faith in us as a community and I appreciate all the support, how different entities come together in this community to get a project done.”

Carol Anderson, executive director for Morrison County Community Development said, “I don’t think people realize how special Morrison County is with regards to economic development. In Morrison County, everyone works together to bring in new businesses and help existing businesses expand. All governments in the county work together, that means the County Board and staff, the school districts, cities, and state of Minnesota. You don’t see this in other counties. Many times they are arguing with one another thinking that the development will happen anyway and they will get the benefit of it without doing the work. You saw that at the North Freeze Dry groundbreaking, as they were all there except the county, which had a board meeting. That’s why you are seeing the County grow!”

On hand for the groundbreaking were (from left): Shane Heald and Dave Linder of Nor-Son Construction; Pat Backowski of Anchor Ingredients; Mark Korte, Nor-Son; Mo Durheim, Farmers and Merchants State Bank; Lori Kasella, city of Little Falls finance director; Jon Radermacher, Little Falls city administrator; Al Yablonski, Anchor; Tom Barrett and Sarah Barrett, Barrett Petfood Innovations; Andy Anderson, Nor-Son; Seth Novak with dog, Penny, Anchor; Jerry Knafla, Little Falls City Council; Mayor Greg Zylka; Raquel Lundberg, Little Falls City Council; Teri Hoggarth, Little Falls Economic Development Authority; Carol Anderson; Keri Kuklok, Nor-Son; Curt Smallbrook, Pine Country Bank; Mark Strelnieks and Bob Koering, Nor-Son; Jim Storlie, Little Falls City Council; Eric Larson, Nor-Son; and Bob Isaacson, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).