"Dry dog food is the biggest category if you will, in the pet business, and it's obviously the biggest part of our business. So that's what we'll be making here and we'll be shipping it all across the country from our distribution center that's right here," said Bill Bishop, Founder and Chairman Blue Buffalo.
Blue Buffalo Founder Bill Bishop says they chose the Joplin area because of the community's spirit. The community's dedication to doing work right and being the best is also appealing.
"The people in Joplin did that better than anybody else. While everybody talked about it, Joplin had the proof if you will, of coming back from that devastating tornado," said Bishop.
Workers broke ground on the more than 400,000 square foot facility at the Crossroads Industrial Park in October of 2012. The grand opening was celebrated Wednesday, August 20.
"Having a facility of this size that is so highly visible, right at the middle of the park if you will, really comes full circle in terms of raising additional interest in the park," said Rob O'Brian, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President.
Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian says Blue Buffalo's presence will have a ripple effect with other companies.
"There are companies here that are suppliers to other food processing companies. We believe there will be some suppliers that Heartland currently has that don't have a presence here, that will eventually come here because they will need to be here to serve this plant," said O'Brian.
Currently, Blue Buffalo is doing test runs to make their products, but hope to ramp up production by next month.
"We've made kibbles and we love the way they look, so we're ready to start ramping it up sometime next month," said Bishop.
The company has hired about 70 employees so far. As they increase production, they will have about 150 employees.
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