Pet treat company eyeing former Del Monte plant in southern Minn.

A water tower that reads "Sleepy Eye" stands over a small town.
The Sleepy Eye, Minn., water tower stands above the town in August 2019. Almost a year after Del Monte Foods announced the closing of its canning plant in the city, a pet treat manufacturer is in talks to take over the facility.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2019

More than a year after California-based Del Monte Foods announced the closing of its canning plant in Sleepy Eye, Minn., a pet treat manufacturer is in talks to take over the facility.

The closing of the Del Monte plant in the southern Minnesota town affected around 360 employees.

Minneota, Minn.-based Chasing Our Tails has signed a purchase agreement with Seneca Foods to buy the almost 215,000-square-foot facility. Chasing Our Tails plans to expand packaging operations and business lines. Founded in 2009, the company produces dog treats and chews found in specialty stores.

CEO Elena Kalogeropoulos said in a statement that once complete, the “acquisition would triple the company’s footprint and support expanded research, development and manufacturing.”

Chasing Our Tails representatives estimate the deal could generate about 50 jobs in the next couple of years. 

Company president Steve Trachtenberg of Tracy, Minn. said Wednesday that the purchase agreement was the first step in a long process before they can claim ownership of the facility. He signed the agreement last week.

“I’m excited by the long term potential for growth and expansion in Sleepy Eye,” Trachtenberg said. “I look forward to working with local community leaders to understand the myriad of business opportunities made possible by the awakening of this sleeping giant.”

The Sleepy Eye plant was a significant employer and had been a part of the town's identity since 1930. Del Monte was a draw for seasonal and migrant workers who filled most of the plant’s jobs.

Sleepy Eye city officials declined to comment on the pending agreement.

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