ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. — Thirteen-hundred acres of what was once a brewing facility for decades will now be home to Nestle Purina.
“We were looking for a property on the east coast of the United States to reach our customer base and when we found Eden it was absolutely a perfect location,” said Nolan Terrym, with Nestle Purina.
$450 million was invested to turn the former brewing company into a pet food facility.
“There’s a lot of highly skilled workers that can be here and that’s important for us as we look at where we want to be,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Nestle Purina of the United States.
It comes as demand for work is more important now than ever as the country continues facing challenges from COVID-19.
“Everything has been dropping down gradually and other places have closed as well so people do need jobs,” said Martha Stultz, a local resident.
A town once known for its manufacturing is hoping to get back to its roots after the ripple effect from business closures put people in a bad spot.
“We lost a lot of good customers because they all had been coming here for the whole time they been there,” said Wendy Wood, Railroad Cafe owner.
Once it’s up and running, some starting salaries at the factory could be as much as $42,000. The company will be looking for people with experience and skills in labor and technology.
The governor’s press office provided the following information:
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, the leading pet care company in the United States, plans to establish significant new manufacturing and distribution operations in Rockingham County that will become operational in 2022 and create up to 300 new jobs by 2024, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $450 million in a 1,300+ acre site near Eden that formerly housed a brewery, where it will manufacture and distribute Purina pet food.
“North Carolina’s manufacturing workforce is strong, and this announcement is an important new phase in Nestlé Purina’s growth,” said Governor Cooper. “This company’s global reputation for quality products, innovation, sustainability, and corporate citizenship fits well with our state’s workforce, economy, and the business community.”
Headquartered in St. Louis, Mo, Purina has been a trusted name among U.S. pet owners for nearly a century. Its brands include Purina ONE, Pro Plan and Dog Chow and Tidy Cats. The company’s sales totaled $9.4 billion in the Americas in 2019, and it employs more than 8,000 workers across 21 U.S. production sites. Since 2001, Purina has been part of Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness based in Vevey, Switzerland.
“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,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, President, Nestlé Purina U.S. “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.”
Nestlé Purina will operate at the location of a former industrial brewery near Eden, where its pet food manufacturing facility will employ production operators, warehouse personnel, quality control technicians and other staff. New positions will offer wages averaging $42,053 per year, creating a $12.6 million annual payroll impact for the region. Rockingham County’s overall average annual wage is $35,146.
“Today’s announcement by Nestlé Purina marks a new beginning for this property and for the people of Eden,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “The significant investment this global company is about to make here during this historic pandemic speaks forcefully about the safety, resilience and reliability of North Carolina as an international business destination.”
The arrival of Nestlé Purina PetCare will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the 12-year term of the grant, the project is estimated to grow North Carolina’s GDP by nearly $2 billion. Using a formula that takes into account new tax revenues generated by the 300 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes a potential reimbursement to the company of up to $4.31 million over 12 years. State payments occur only after verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met incremental job creation and investment targets.
Projects supported by JDIG must, by law, result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a recipient company. The provision ensures all North Carolina communities benefit from the JDIG program. Nestlé Purina’s Rockingham County operations are projected to generate $61.23 million in state tax revenue over the life of the grant.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce worked closely with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) in a collaborative effort to facilitate Nestlé Purina Petcare’s selection of Rockingham County. Other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, Rockingham County, the City of Eden, Rockingham County Center for Economic Development, Norfolk-Southern, the North Carolina Railroad Company and Duke Energy.