Diamond Pet Foods announced the opening of its long-awaited Ripon facility and the creation of 75 or more jobs on Wednesday.
It is the pet food manufacturer’s fourth site and second in California, joining a much smaller operation in Lathrop. The California sites, which sit approximately 15 miles apart, will be run by the same management team.
“Because of a growing customer base, we recognized the need for another facility on the West Coast and had been working for a few years to find an existing facility that met our needs,” Diamond Pet Foods’ Vice President of Manufacturing Mark Schell said in a press release.
“Identifying the Ripon building allowed us to gain efficiencies from both plants, not only from a proximity standpoint, but also through more sustainable production methods.”
The announcement brings to close a 20-month renovation of the plant once occupied by Neenah Paper.
Sitting on 150 acres near Highway 99 and the Stanislaus River, Diamond Pet Foods updated the facilities already in place, built a few additional buildings, including a mill tower for storage of its pet food ingredients, and incorporated green technology throughout the complex.
The opening of the Ripon plant has created more than 75 jobs in the areas of manufacturing, quality control, administration and maintenance, according to a press release.
That number is significantly smaller than the estimate of 100-plus jobs trumpeted by Diamond Pet Foods in August of 2010, when negotiations began.
Regardless, the City of Ripon welcomed Wednesday’s opening.
“We’re a close-knit community and as a family-owned and operated business, Diamond Pet Foods is a great fit for Ripon,” Ripon’s director for planning and economic development Ken Zuidervaart said in a press release.
“It’s great to see their commitment to the community, from the investments they made in the facility to providing job for the people of Ripon.”
The facility is the first within the Diamond Pet Foods corporation to feature significant energy-saving technology, including a solar farm and panels that provide 20 percent of the facility’s power.
LED light fixtures throughout the facility also allow the company to use at least 50 percent less energy.
The company, whose corporate offices are located in Missouri, contracted locally for the renovation, employing as many as 200 laborers during the height of construction.
There are 200 combined employees at the two California sites, according to Tara Hart, the company’s public relations manager. All positions at the Ripon facility have been filled, but for those interested, open position are posted at www.diamondpetfoodcareeers.com.