OAK CREEK, WIS. — Stella & Chewy’s, a pet food and treat manufacturer based in Wisconsin, has been named among the 2020 Top Workplaces by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a local daily newspaper.
The selection is based on employee feedback, submitted anonymously, and a company culture of leadership, fair compensation, communications and other factors affecting Stella & Chewy’s workforce environment. The company employs more than 600 people.
“This recognition truly means the world to us because it is based on feedback from our employees,” said Marc Hill, chief executive officer of Stella & Chewy’s. “The main priorities and goals of our business are to create the best possible products for our pet parents, and of course, to create the most positive working environment for our employees. We have an open door policy to encourage communication, feedback and discussions about any matter of importance to an employee.”
Stella & Chewy’s has increased wages for its production staff over the last four years “in order to attract and keep employees,” said Jennifer Kovacich, human resources manager at Stella & Chewy’s. Kovacich also said the company offers a competitive employer-matching 401K package, insurance benefits, and classes on leadership, Excel and English as a Second Language (ESL).
“We are proud to say that over 65% of our jobs are filled in-house and that’s because of the training we offer to our team members and the open access we have to all levels of management,” Kovacich added. “We believe that if we invest in our employees and give them opportunities to grow within the company, it will be a win-win for everyone.”
The company also participates in philanthropic endeavors. In 2018, Stella & Chewy’s raised awareness for adult and senior pet adoptions through its ongoing Journey Home Fund. It has also donated pet food products to animal shelters nationwide, providing $80,000 toward the adoption of 371 pets in 2019.
Stella & Chewy’s also pledged $25,000 to Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control to spay and neuter 400 cats and dogs in the Milwaukee area. Most recently, the company partnered with ASPCA to provide $500,000 worth of pet food to animal shelters in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Asheville, N.C.
The company has made several adjustments to continue operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These include providing PPE gear and extended sick time for employees, enforcing social distancing, staggering shifts and lunches, and repurposing conference rooms for employee use.
“We are considered an essential business, so the concern and care of our staff is our top priority,” Hill said. “We also bring in free lunch once a week and have weekly drawings for Uber Eats gift cards. The wellness of our employees will always be our number one concern.”
The company has recently released three new products, including two meal enhancers and reformulations to incorporate pumpkin and bacon into existing products.
“Our growth is continuous and we are planning to introduce more products in the third quarter of this year,” Hill said.
Stay up to date on news about the pet food processing industry on our News page.