Pet food maker Blue Buffalo to spend $100M on plant in Richmond

A company that makes natural pet food announced Tuesday it will invest $100 million in a new production and distribution center in eastern Indiana—and could receive more than $1.6 million in state tax credits to do so.

Blue Buffalo Pet Products said it will create 165 jobs when it opens the facility—which will include a research and development center—under its Heartland Pet Food subsidiary in Richmond.

The Wilton, Connecticut-based company plans to build on 89 acres just off Interstate 70 near exit 149 at U.S. 35.

It will be Blue Buffalo’s second plant in the United States and the fourth pet food producer to locate in Wayne County.

 “This new, state-of-the-art addition to our manufacturing network will complement our facility in Missouri,” said Bill Bishop, chairman and founder of Blue Buffalo, in a written statement.

“We expect to further increase our internal production capacity and now will have two of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the pet food industry” 

Blue Buffalo was founded in 2002 and offers natural foods and treats for dogs and cats, which are sold nationwide through pet specialty retailers.

The company plans to break ground on the new facility later this year and plans to hire for positions in food processing, food quality assurance and general management.

Richmond Mayor Dave Snow called the announcement “a huge breakthrough” for the city that was made possible by “a new era of partnerships between the city, the county and our economic development corporation.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Blue Buffalo up to $1.63 million in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. The incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.

Wayne County and the city of Richmond have approved additional incentives for the company.

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