JUNEAU — A growing Dodge County company is planning to nearly double its employees.
Juneau Common Council members agreed Tuesday to act as an intermediary between the state’s Department of Administration and Automated Pet Care Products and hire MSA Professional Services to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to help with any future expansion at the local company.
David Rasmussen, an MSA senior planner, said each year the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Division of Housing, Energy and Community Resources (DEHCR) receives $24 million for the purposes of providing economic development activities such as owner and renter rehabilitation work on buildings, public facilities, neighborhood improvements like roadwork, economic development and low-interest loans for job creation.
“If a business creates the number of jobs they say there are going to create, the loan is a forgivable one,” Rasmussen said. “It’s really quite nice for any company.”
Auto Pets Vice President of Manufacturing and Fulfillment John Duren said Tuesday his company employee 220 individuals.
Although he didn’t get into specifics, Duren said the company is looking to expand in the near future and hire additional employees.
“We want to give people a career,” Duren said. “For most of the people, this is their first real career other than working a fast food job. Auto Pets is a great place to work.”
He said 2020 was a “great” year for Auto Pets, but, when Juneau Mayor Dan Wegener asked about the company’s sales, Duren didn’t go into specifics, but said the company could expand to 400 total employees in the near future.
Wegener did say the city is happy to partner with Auto Pets on any future expansion in the city.
Juneau Council members agreed to pay MSA a fee not to exceed $18,250 to apply for a state CDBG and administer it to Auto Pets, which is eyeing $1 million to assist in the purchasing of equipment and future automation.
Auto Pets will reimburse the city its $18,250, according to Shawn Hart, Juneau city clerk and treasurer.
Hart said the grant amount is dependent on the number of employees Auto Pets will hire.
Duren asked that all questions be referred to Auto Pets’ public relations firm, which did not immediately return a call before press time.