EDEN, NC. — Nestlé Purina PetCare held a grand opening celebration March 26 for its newest pet food production facility in Eden, bringing together state officials and community partners alongside company leaders. According to Purina, the celebration is a culmination of more than three years of development and more than $450 million in investments to bring the first Nestlé Purina facility into the state of North Carolina. 

“Demand for our products continues to grow and opening this new facility — our first manufacturing operation in North Carolina — allows us to better serve our consumers, particularly in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, chief executive officer of Purina. “Our new factory in Eden is a huge step to continue meeting that growing demand, and the latest example of the continued investment being made across our US manufacturing network. We’re grateful for the support and partnership across the region, and are confident we’re building a facility, and a passionate team, that will represent this community proudly for generations to come.”

Purina hosts grand opening celebration for Eden facility

Nina Leigh Krueger, chief executive officer of Purina, at the grand opening celebration of Purina's new Eden factory.

| Source: Nestlé Purina PetCare

The company originally announced its intention to build the brand-new facility in September 2020. It spans 1.3 million square feet, 80% of which is repurposed from a former brewery, and boasts several modern technological advancements to allow Purina to transform and enhance its overall production processes. The plant also includes Purina’s first-ever vertical dryer installed in a US facility, as well as automated systems in the warehousing and freezer areas. 

Additionally, the Eden facility includes a Manufacturing Experience Center — the first of its kind, according to Purina —  designed to introduce modern manufacturing to the next workforce generation. 

“We have been looking forward to this day for a very long time and are so grateful for the contributions of so many incredible associates who've been working hard to bring this factory to life,” said Will Steiner, factory manager of the new Purina factory in Eden. “So much amazing collaboration has gone into this project, but what’s most exciting is we can now really get to work and produce many of our pet food brands that pets love and owners trust. We have a great team in place to bring Purina’s quality and safety standards to life in Eden.”

The plant sits on 1,350 acres, extending to the North Carolina-Virgina state line. It marks the 23rd Purina manufacturing operation in the United States. According to Purina, the facility will operate as a “zero-waste for disposal” facility, and will also contribute to the company’s overall goals of conserving water and achieving 100% renewable electricity throughout its entire manufacturing network by 2025. 

Purina Eden has already created more than 300 new jobs, according to Purina, with plans to add more personnel in the future. Additionally, Nestlé is on track to invest an additional $2 billion in Purina factories and expansion projects from 2020 to 2025 to enhance the pet food company’s footprint. In line with this, a 24th Purina factory is undergoing construction in Williamsburg Township, Ohio, and is anticipated to be fully operational within the next year. 

Purina's Eden pet food facility employs modern technology and automationSource: Nestlé Purina PetCare

The facility’s grand opening celebration was attended by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Sen. Phil Berger, as well as several Purina leaders including Nolan Terry, chief technical officer, Casey Hansen, manufacturing vice president, and Steiner.

“We continued to believe that the brewery in Eden could be used for a new manufacturer and we are excited that with this grand opening Nestlé Purina is ready to make a new home in North Carolina with 300 new employees,” Governor Cooper said. “They will find here a well-trained, dedicated and diverse workforce along with support for their efforts to have this new plant embrace renewable energy and sustainability.”

The event also featured donations from Purina to local organizations throughout the area granted through the company’s Trust Fund, which was established by Founder William H. Danforth and aims to positively impact communities where Purina operates. As part of this, the company donated $30,000 to Rockingham Community College to support the development of a new Center for Workforce Development building that will enhance the community’s current and future workforce, as well as offer training and high-technology employment opportunities; and $10,000 to Dan River Basin Association to support the organization’s “Tails on Trails” initiative that encourages pets and people to explore nature together. The company also extended its support to local organizations, including Rockingham Country Veterans Park, Help, Inc., Squareone Family Justice Center, Rockingham County Animal Shelter, and the K9 officer of the Eden Police Force. 

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