JOHNSON CREEK — If the excitement of village board members is any indication, it appears Glenn’s Market & Catering soon will be expanding its pet treat operation to Johnson Creek.
According to new Johnson Creek Village Administrator Brad Calder, the village board of trustees likely, on Nov. 9, will be approving Glenn’s site plan to build on 3.5 acres near Resort Drive. The location is just north of Interstate 94, close to the Comfort Suites.
The pet treat manufacturing facility, at 727 Paradise Lane, would measure 12,432 square feet. Eight to 10 full-time equivalent workers are expected to be employed, some with developmental disabilities.
Glenn’s offer to purchase received approval from the village board this week and site plan approval would give longtime Watertown business owner Glenn Roberts the go-ahead to begin building late this year. The plant would open in April or May.
Roberts, owner of Glenn’s Market and Catering on Watertown’s West Main Street, said Tuesday he plans to break ground within three days of the site plan approval and get footings for the structure in place before winter.
“I had a friend on the (Johnson Creek) school board and he said the village was giving land away (for industrial development),” Roberts said, adding he is paying about $3.50 for the property — on the condition he erects a substantial facility.
He said the building will cost $1.8 million and will house more than $1 million in equipment.
“We are investing about $3 million total,” Roberts said, noting that he has been in the pet food business since 2014.
“What they are doing in pet treats is really growing and it is driving the need to expand,” Calder said. “They liked the Resort Drive location and the board is very pleased with what it brings to the village.”
Calder and Roberts said the one-story structure would be a manufacturing facility rather than a retail location and would have room for expansion. Roberts said his proposed operation would conduct its manufacturing emitting no odors commonly associated with pet food facilities.
“This won’t be part of their meat sales and catering business in Watertown, just pet treats,” Calder said. “Board President John Swisher and the rest of the board are very excited about this. This is a unique product. It’s very specialized.”
According to the Glenn’s Market & Catering website, the store offers pet owners the opportunity to put their pets on a “raw pet diet” and offers custom blends of food for animals. Glenn’s Watertown store on West Main Street offers more than 35 feet of frozen pet food and more than 18 kinds of freeze dried pet treats, all from USDA-inspected meats. Roberts said nothing will change in terms of quality.
Raw feeding is better for pets, according to Glenn’s website, because it has no fillers, preservatives, dyes or gluten. Natural flavors are maintained, along with vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
“This leads to dogs that are better tempered, with more energy and stamina and fewer allergies,” the website said, adding healthier coats and skin in pets are also achieved through better diets.
Some commercial dog food is grain-based, with low vitamin values and is not fit for human consumption. There is low digestibility, and it’s high in salt, calcium and carbohydrates, according to the website.
Roberts said his products for pets include raw chicken and beef dog food; beef hearts, livers and bones; and chicken hearts, necks, gizzards and livers. Also offered are duck feet, lamb hearts, rabbit, pork hearts and kidneys, along with dried pig ears, smoked bones, turkey hearts, necks and gizzards.
Roberts said he is open to the chances to expand his Johnson Creek operation before he’s even broken ground for it. He said the pet treat business is growing quickly, currently comprising 20 percent of his business. He is hoping it soon makes up more of it.
“There is lots of expansion potential. I’m a business owner. I can’t stop,” Roberts said. “I can’t stop improving things.”