ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Ground was broken at Abilene’s Five Point Business park on the $31.6 million expansion planned for what was Prairie Dog Pet Products. Primal Pet Group acquired the manufacturer and now plans to expand the facility to house what will be the companies largest plant in the nation.

Rendering of Primal expansion at Five Points Business Park

“Today represents the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people,” says Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) Chairman Jack Rich.

“This is what we do. We work every day to attract company expansions to grow jobs for the future of Abilene,” added DCOA President Misty Mayo.

The California-based company specializes in natural and minimally processed pet foods.

“Primal is a 20-year-old company that was at the forefront and beginning of raw and lightly cooked food and delivering those to pets,” says Primal CEO Tim Simonds.

Simonds says their move into Abilene will extend their reach to the central and eastern parts of the nation without displacing the workforce already here.

“As we rename it from Prairie Dog to Primal Pet Group, those employees will stay with us and we will be adding more jobs as we further develop out the factory,” Simonds says.

There will be 119 jobs retained and a promised 139 positions will be added with the expansion’s expected 2022 completion date.

The DCOA and City of Abilene have invested $3.16 million in sales tax revenue, which according to Mayo, will see a large return.

“For every dollar that’s invested in the incentive, Primal Pet Group will actually commit back to the community $45,” Mayo says.

With a starting wage of $14-15 an hour, Primal hopes to grow the Abilene workforce and set an example as a people first workplace.

“It’s a fact right now in the United States that we need workers. So if you live in here or not and you’re looking for a job. We have a place for you and we have a job for you in Abilene Texas.”

-misty mayo, development corporation of Abilene president

The 60,000 square feet expansion project is projected to be completed by third quarter of 2022, around July to September. Hiring has already begun at the existing facility. That effort expected to ramp up in mid-2022.