Nestlé Purina PetCare Company today commemorated the opening of its 21st factory in the United States in Hartwell, Georgia, to unlock growth potential for the production of popular and trusted Purina brands while making a significant impact on the local economy.
With a total investment of more than $320 million, the new Hartwell factory is Purina's first new U.S. factory in two decades and represents Nestlé's single largest investment in a pet care facility in the last decade in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Currently nearly 200 employees work at the Hartwell facility, and the number will grow to 240 as new lines and other expansions at the site are completed over the next few years. Purina also operates a manufacturing facility in Fairburn, Georgia, which employs 350 people.
"I am proud to congratulate Purina on the opening of their 21st U.S. factory in Hart County," said Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp. "As one of the nation's leading pet food companies, Purina's expansion into Hartwell and continued commitment in Fairburn are creating exciting opportunities for hardworking Georgians and their families, and I am grateful for their investment in our state. I am excited to see another member of the Georgia Made family grow their operations, and I have no doubt that our top-notch workforce will ensure Purina's continued success in the years ahead."
Purina announced its investment in Hartwell in 2017 and began initial operations of a distribution center at the site in spring 2018. The company purchased a long-idled textile facility that it set out to completely remake and rebuild with the installation of modern equipment and technology for high-quality production of trusted Purina brands including Fancy Feast, which is the top wet cat food brand in the United States. Today's opening marks the first step in launching the Hartwell factory's production and continuing to evolve the facility's capabilities.
"Nestlé Purina is focused on delivering world-class products and is one of our key growth pillars for Nestlé," said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé CEO for the Americas. "Purina is in a position of strength for long-term sustainable growth and this investment in Hartwell demonstrates Nestlé's commitment to continually innovate and shape the future of pet care."
Growth of the wet cat food category and demand for Purina pet foods is a primary driver of Purina's Hartwell investment. More than 60 percent of American households have a dog or cat, and pets are considered full-fledged members of the family. Purina is the No. 1 pet care company in the United States and is shaping the future of health and wellbeing for pets and their owners through its trusted portfolio of innovative, high-quality brands.
"Through this investment in Hartwell, Purina is continuing to deliver science-based nutrition made to the highest standards of quality and safety that pet owners have come to trust for more than 90 years," said Joseph Sivewright, Purina CEO. "Purina's Hartwell team is critical to helping us deliver quality nutrition so pets can live longer, healthier lives with their owners. We're very excited to be a part of the Hartwellcommunity, and we're proud of the great teamwork by everyone involved to build a world-class facility that will operate in a sustainable way."
Purina has made major investments in Hartwell to ensure the company is producing healthy and high-quality products while protecting the environment. The Hartwell factory is using innovative water conservation and treatment methods, aims to be powered by 100 percent renewable electricity in the near future and currently sends zero waste for disposal to traditional landfills, instead utilizing composting, recycling and energy recovery.
Purina's investment in Hartwell also makes a significant contribution to the local economy and community. Purina has engaged with the community since work began in early 2018 by actively supporting local pet shelters and rescues, education, civic causes and hunger relief.
"Purina has quickly become a very important member of our community," said Brandon Johnson, Mayor, City of Hartwell. "The close proximity of the Purina facility to the city of Hartwell provides significant benefit to the local economy, tremendous career opportunities for our citizens and charitable outreach to local philanthropic organizations."
At the grand opening ceremony for the new factory, Purina also announced a $20,000 donation to the Northeast Georgia Council on Domestic Violence (NGCDV) as part of its Purple Leash Project, a partnership between Purina and national non-profit RedRover. One in three women and one in four men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, yet nearly 50 percent of domestic abuse survivors say they won't leave or will delay leaving an abusive relationship if they can't bring their pets. Purina and RedRover are working to help make sure they won't have to face that difficult decision.
"We believe it's important to support the communities where we live and work, particularly when it benefits pets and the people who love them," said Nina Leigh Krueger, Purina President. "We've worked with our partner Red Rover to keep pets and people together, and to help them heal together, during this difficult time in their lives."
Purina Purple Leash Project grants provide funding to make domestic violence shelters pet friendly, and Purina has committed more than $500,000 to help fund these grants.
"The lack of pet-friendly housing options in the United States for domestic violence victims often leaves people with a heartbreaking choice," said Katherine Reusing, Executive Director of NGCDV. "We appreciate our partnership with Purina and Red Rover so we can better serve those in need of our shelter services while also providing safe housing for their beloved pets. We're excited about the renovations that will enhance our pet-friendly spaces."