Economic Development Authority spokesperson, Kanan Kappelman, says Simmons Pet Food plan to bring some of its operations to eastern Iowa. “The company plans to increase its wet pet food production capacity with the purchase of an existing facility in Dubuque,” Kappelman says. She says it the largest co-manufacturer and private label pet food maker in North America — and this would be its first plant in Iowa.
The board approved two types of state — tax benefits and an $800,000 dollar forgivable loan with the promise of the company creating 271 new jobs. Kappleman says 206 of the jobs are promised at a wage of more than $20 an hour.
“Of course the community is very pleased — not only by the job creation — but also the project represents an 80 million dollar capital investment,” she says. It will take several months to renovate the former Flexsteel plant for the pet food production.
“The company plans to complete the purchase of the facility by the end of this year with building improvements to be made by June of 2022 and the installation of equipment also by June of 2022. So, we are looking at mid-2022,” according to Kappleman.
State incentives were also approved for Eco Lips — which make lip products — for an expansion in Cedar Rapids. “The IEDA board awarded the company approximately $238,000 in tax credits via our high-quality jobs program,” Kappleman says. She says the company also manufactures products for private label and contract manufacturing customers.
“The Eco Lips project is expected to create 13 new jobs,” Kappleman says. Those jobs are promised at a wage of more than $23 an hour. The project will result in a capital investment of close to $5.6 million.