Mars Readies New Canned Dog Food Plant in Arkansas

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menusux:
http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/262560/

Northwest Arkansas News June 21, 2009

"Test runs on newly installed canning machinery at the Mars PetCare US plant in Fort Smith are moving the company closer to mass production of wet dog food by fall.

"The manufacturer from McLean, Va., is boosting the industrial output at Chaffee Crossing - an estimated 6,000 acres turned over to the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority in 2000. The authority is a statechartered public trust whose goal is to find a profitable use for the former military training site.

"A recent prospect looking at Chaffee Crossing was pleased by the low cost of labor and low cost of doing business in Fort Smith in general, she said. For Mars Petcare US, the Chaffee Crossing plant will be one of two locations for making its Cesar brand of wet dog food. Plastic containers of dog food will be shipped throughout the western half of the country, wrote Chris Hunter, the Fort Smith plant manager, in an e-mail. The plant has the potential to expand and produce other pet food brands if the need exists, Hunter added. As many as 100 employees have been hired.

"State officials said in late 2007 that an estimated $21 million in state incentives helped entice Mars PetCare US to Northwest Arkansas, as previously reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Some of the incentives, which include income tax and sales tax rebates, will be triggered when operational thresholds are met.

"The opening of the Mars plant comes at a time when the company has been reorganizing its pet-food operations.

"During the past year, and in the wake of a salmonella contamination traced to a now-shuttered dry dog-food manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania, it has closed facilities in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri.

"Mars Petcare US employs more than 3,000 people in 22 facilities nationwide."

caylee:

http://petindustrynews.blogspot.com/2009/06/mars-petcare-to-close-two-more-plants.html
Quote

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Mars Petcare to close two more plants
Mars Petcare announced the decision to close its Le Sueur, Minnesota, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, facilities in the USA by the end of 2009 in addition to the closing of the Portland, Indiana, plant.
The company cited reduced customer demand as the reason for the closures.

menusux:
Note that Mars sets up or ramps up in spots where there's a handout:

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=24699

Mars' Press Release PORTLAND, Ind. (July 31, 2007)

"The investment and more than doubling of the company’s 50-person workforce in Portland comes nearly a year after Mars purchased the facility as part of its acquisition of former plant owner Doane Pet Care.

“The expansion of our Portland facility will fill a vital role in strengthening Mars’ pet food production network,” said Doug Reed, manager of Mars’ Portland production facility.

"The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered the company up to $565,000 in performance-based tax credits and up to $40,000 in training grants. The City of Portland offered the company property tax abatement worth $325,000 and $48,250 in training assistance.

Two years later, that's all for this plant and its workers.

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2009/05/04/daily8.html

BizJournals May 4, 2009

"The state Controlling Board on Monday approved several grants designed to entice businesses to grow in Ohio, including one in Franklin County.

"Mars Petcare US Inc. will receive a $25,000 Rapid Outreach grant to help pay for $8.1 million worth of machinery and equipment for a planned expansion in Columbus. The pet food producer in March also received approval for a seven-year, 50 percent state tax credit in support of the $10 million plan to expand its 5115 Fisher Road plant. It’s also in line for a $20,000 Ohio Investment in Training Program grant.

"The company in its application said the project could create 25 jobs and retain 430. The state said Columbus is in competition with Mars Petcare sites in Arkansas and South Dakota for the project, which will involve moving equipment from a facility outside Los Angeles for a new pouch production line.

http://mfrtech.com/articles/2083.html

The Columbus, Ohio expansion-

"Pet foods maker Mars Petcare U.S. is investing $4.3 million to expand operations here. The project includes starting another production shift for pouch and canned products as well as relocating a pilot plant for research and development.

"The facility produces Pedigree and Cesar brands."

Expansion of Kansas City, Mo plant:

http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/stories/2009/04/27/daily12.html

"Kansas City gave Mars Petcare a 50 percent property tax abatement for 10 years, valued around $142,500 for the life of the abatement, said Jeff Kaczmarek, CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City. The city granted the abatement through the Enhanced Enterprize Zone program.

"John Fougere, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said the state gave Mars Petcare $971,660 in Enhanced Enterprise Zone tax credits, $458,206 in New Jobs Training Program financing and $128,500 in savings through the Employee Recruitment Referral Program."

Back to the Fort Smith, AR expansion:

http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/262560/

"State officials said in late 2007 that an estimated $21 million in state incentives helped entice Mars PetCare US to Northwest Arkansas, as previously reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Some of the incentives, which include income tax and sales tax rebates, will be triggered when operational thresholds are met."

Looks like Mars hits and runs when it comes to grabbing corporate welfare.  ::)

JJ:
Do they have to pay these 'incentives' back if they shut down a facility after a certain amount of time?

If there is "reduced customer demand" as to why they closed those other plants why in the heck are they building another one? Did demand suddenly go waayyy up or something?

menusux:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars,_Incorporated

"Mars is still a family owned business, belonging to the Mars family. The company is famous for its secrecy. A 1993 Washington Post Magazine article was a rare raising of the veil, as the reporter was able to see the "M"s being applied to the M&M's, something that "no out-sider had ever before been invited to observe." In 1999, for example, the company did not acknowledge that Forrest Mars, Sr., (son of founder Frank) had died or that he had worked for the company."  :o

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