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Initiative Quarterly

Loan Supports Barrett Petfood Expansion

August 12, 2019


Dozens participated Monday, Aug. 12, in the ground-breaking ceremonies for a 165,000-square-foot Barrett Petfood Innovations expansion in the Little Falls industrial park.

$20 million project could create 60-100 quality new jobs for local economy

Little Falls, Minn. – The Initiative Foundation has joined other local lenders to help fund construction of a 165,000-square-foot Barrett Petfood Innovations (BPI) manufacturing facility in the Chief Hole-in-the-Day Industrial Park in Little Falls.

The $20 million financing package will fund construction as well as acquisition of equipment for the company’s second location at 15657 18th Street NE as it expands its manufacturing, packaging and distribution business. BPI’s headquarters and initial manufacturing plant, previously known as Barrett Ag Services, Inc., is located on Minnesota Highway 25 south of Brainerd, where the company employs 100-plus people. The expansion into Little Falls is expected to add 60 to 100 new jobs to the local economy over the next three years.

“A project like this is great to get behind because there’s so much upside,” said Dan Bullert, business finance manager at the Initiative Foundation. “Barrett has a good track record of manufacturing innovation and success, and the opportunities for job creation could easily exceed early estimates. In fact, as new markets are opened and developed, this expansion could create as many as 300 jobs. That’s great for the local economy and great for the families that call this region home.”

On average, the jobs will pay $15 per hour and come with full benefits. Construction is scheduled for completion in June 2020.

The lead lender for the project is Bell Bank of Alexandria. Other backers include the Small Business Administration and a host of supporting lenders that include the Morrison County Rural Development Finance Authority; Community Development of Morrison County; the city of Little Falls through its revolving loan fund and a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) package; and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) through its Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund.

About Barrett Petfood Innovations

Barrett Ag Services, Inc., was started in 1986 by Michael Barrett. The company was originally established as a feed, fertilizer and farm chemical distributor. As markets shifted, the company purchased an extruder and began to manufacture organic fertilizer for golf courses. Faced with ongoing market development challenges, Barrett’s daughter, Sarah, in 2005 began to research alternative uses for the extrusion equipment and discovered it was suited for pet food manufacturing. Today, Barrett Petfood Innovations produces more than 150 different types of pet food—from dog, cat and bird food to more exotic items such as turtle, fish and primate food. The final products are distributed locally as well as exported around the world.

About the Initiative Foundation

The Initiative Foundation exists to improve the quality of life and to build stronger communities within its 14-county region of Central Minnesota by offering business loans, nonprofit grants, donor services and leadership training. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation has made 1,054 regional loans totaling $55.5 million. Combined, Initiative Foundation loans have leveraged more than $370 million in private business investment.

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