General Mills Fuels Economic Growth in East Central Indiana, Announces Second $200M Blue Buffalo Expansion in Four Years
RICHMOND, Ind. (March 23, 2023) – Governor Eric J. Holcomb and Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers today joined local officials and leaders and employees of Blue Buffalo, the nation’s leading natural pet food company, as they announced plans to expand the company’s operations in Richmond, creating 50-60 new jobs by the end of 2024.
“Indiana ranks number one in the U.S. for manufacturing output by innovating and producing the products that power our lives and feed our families,” said Gov. Holcomb. “As a proud pet parent myself, I know the importance of quality, and I’m thrilled that Blue Buffalo continues to put its trust in Richmond and in the Hoosiers that deliver its healthy products to households across the nation.”
“General Mills and Blue Buffalo are helping drive Richmond’s economy forward, investing in the East Central region and providing quality career opportunities for Hoosiers,” said Sec. Chambers. “The company is making a change economically while being a good corporate citizen, making changes and fulfilling global responsibility commitments to better our planet, people, community and food.”
Blue Buffalo, General Mills’ (NYSE: GIS) fastest growing global platform, will invest $200 million over two years to grow its Indiana operations, constructing and equipping a 169,000-square-foot addition to expand its processing operations and warehouse capacity. The expansion will increase the building’s footprint by more than 40 percent by adding another extruder line, three new packaging lines and an associated mix and transfer system, increasing its production of high-quality, natural dog and cat food, servicing customers across the U.S. and Canada. The company broke ground today and plans to complete the expansion by the end of 2024.
Today’s announcement comes just four years after General Mills celebrated the grand opening of its Blue Buffalo Richmond facility, a $200 million investment. The company employs more than 180 full-time associates in Wayne County and plans to hire additional production staff later this year to support its growth.
“The expansion of Blue Buffalo here in Richmond is indicative of our continued growth and leadership in the industry and will set us up to serve pets and pet parents for years to come,” said Terry Abner, plant manager at the Blue Buffalo Richmond plant. “Today marks the culmination of strong collaboration across local, state and agency partners and we’re eager to see this to fruition in the fall of 2024 when the lines will go online, and we’ll have 50-60 new team members to welcome into our plant community.”
Founded in 2003, Blue Buffalo offers a full portfolio of high-quality, natural food and treats that both dogs and cats love. It was founded on the simple idea: “Love them like family. Feed them like family.” BLUE Life Protection Formula, the brand’s flagship formula, launched a whole new way of feeding pets. The Blue Buffalo portfolio has grown to include a full range of products for all life stages, including BLUE Wilderness, BLUE Basics, BLUE Freedom, BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet, and more. Blue Buffalo was acquired by General Mills in 2018.
Blue Buffalo first announced plans to locate in Wayne County, Indiana, in 2016, establishing a 400,000-square-foot facility to produce BLUE Life Protection Formula, Wilderness, True Solutions, Basics and Freedom brands of dry dog and cat food.
“Blue Buffalo has established a strong professional relationship with local and state officials, and an impactful relationship with our community,” said Richmond Mayor Snow. “Their growth is a result of dedication to the quality of their product, and their positive business model which promotes a healthy and productive work environment. This investment is very meaningful to our local economy, and I am confident more success lies ahead.”
Based on the company’s job creation plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation committed an investment in Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing Indiana (dba Blue Buffalo) of up to $600,000 in the form of incentive-based tax credits. The IEDC also committed an investment of up to $100,000 in Hoosier Business Investment tax credits and up to $200,000 in Manufacturing Readiness Grants, which are designed to help companies invest in smart manufacturing and new technologies. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. Wayne County will consider additional incentives to support the project.
About Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo, the country’s #1 natural pet food, started with a promise made to a lovable Airedale named Blue who struggled with cancer, the leading cause of death in dogs. His family, the Bishops, wanted to feed him the best food possible, so they searched for food with high-quality ingredients, but decided to create something even better – natural pet food for dogs and cats with nutritious ingredients, real meat first, and some of the highest standards in the industry. Since Day 1, BLUE’s team of veterinarians and animal nutritionists has carefully selected high-quality, natural ingredients and upheld its True BLUE Promise to dog and cat pet parents – real meat as the first ingredient with NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, NO corn, wheat or soy, and NO artificial flavors or preservatives. The result is a portfolio of high-quality, natural food and treats that both dogs and cats love. This simple idea: “Love them like family. Feed them like family.” lives on today in every Blue Buffalo recipe.’
About General Mills
General Mills makes food the world loves. The company is guided by its Accelerate strategy to drive shareholder value by boldly building its brands, relentlessly innovating, unleashing its scale and standing for good. Its portfolio of beloved brands includes household names such as Cheerios, Nature Valley, Blue Buffalo, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Annie’s, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2022 net sales of U.S. $19.0 billion. In addition, the company’s share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.1 billion.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is charged with growing the State economy, driving economic development, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Led by Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, @SecChambersIN, and governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, @GovHolcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit iedc.in.gov.
Mollie Wulff (General Mills) – 763-764.6364 or Media.Line@genmills.com
Erin Sweitzer (IEDC) – 317.296.2556 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release
March 8, 2023
Richmond, Ind. - A former Indiana University Bloomington professor of African-American studies and criminal justice with broad, collaborative experience in academic and student affairs will serve as chancellor of IU East pending approval of the IU Board of Trustees.
Dennis M. Rome will assume the role July 1, overseeing all aspects of the academic and operational components of the campus, in collaboration with university administration and other Indiana University regional campuses.
Rome currently serves as assistant to the president for community engagement and strategic partnerships at Northeastern Illinois University, moving from his previous position as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“Dr. Rome brings a long tenure of academic leadership experience to the campus” said Susan Sciame-Giesecke, IU vice president for regional campuses and online education. “I am thrilled he is returning to IU after having served as an executive at a campus very similar to IU East. We are fortunate to have attracted such an accomplished leader. The campus is well suited for success.”
During his tenure at NIEU, Rome led the creation of Living Learning Centers for students that included Social Justice, Honors, STEM, and Teachers Preparation themes. He partnered with academic units to improve the integrity of instructional budgets while also joining forces with academic deans for the creation of new and essential academic programs.
A former Fulbright Scholar and Carnegie National Scholar, Rome has received numerous awards for his public service and leadership. A strong believer in community service, he sat on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the Liberty Theatre in Columbus, Georgia, and he was twice appointed as a public member on the Wisconsin State Joint Legislative Council. While at IU, he received the prestigious Teaching Excellence Recognition Award three years in a row.
“I am honored to be joining the IU East community at such a pivotal time,” Rome said. “The direction of the campus and the vision of President Pamela Whitten for Indiana University is galvanizing, and the regional campuses will contribute much to its success through solid student success strategies. I look forward to working closely with Vice President Sciame-Giesecke to move the IU 2030 Strategic Plan forward at IU East, and build strong community partnerships in eastern Indiana.”
Rome is an esteemed author, having published three books and numerous book chapters and research articles on various aspects of sociology and criminal justice.
Before joining the Northeastern Illinois executive team, Rome served as dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at Columbus State University in Georgia and as associate provost and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He holds his B.S. from Bradley University, a master's in sociology from Howard University and a Ph.D. from Washington State University.
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