The economic makeup of Nebraska is diverse, both in size of businesses, locations, and types of industries. This diversity allows different communities and businesses to contribute and grow in their own unique ways. The main goal of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Economic Development program is to help create jobs for low-to-moderate income (LMI) persons all over the state.
Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc. was awarded CDBG monies in early 2012 for the addition of a production building and to aid in the purchase of additional equipment and machinery. Sergeant’s is a national producer of pet products, ranging from flea and tick treatments, pet health and grooming products, and pet treats. They have been in operation since 1868, but became a national producer in 1930.
The addition is a 131,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, where the purchased equipment is used. Sergeant’s started the project originally intending to create 58 new jobs, 30 of which were to be LMI in the new facility. However, the project produced more jobs than expected. 74 jobs were created, 47 of which benefitted low-to-moderate income persons (63.51%). The addition of the new manufacturing facility and machinery increased the company’s production capabilities and further strengthened its presence throughout Nebraska and the entire Midwest region.
The total project budget was $7,505,000. In addition to $505,000 awarded in CDBG funds, $480,000 was provided directly by Sergeant’s for project activities, and the remaining $6,520,000 was financed by Bank of the West. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on March 19, 2012. The project was officially finished and closed out by the end of 2013.
The combined effort of Sarpy County and Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc., shows that businesses can succeed and grow with CDBG money, while staying in the state of Nebraska. Efforts like this one show why Nebraska has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and is considered one of the best states in which to conduct business. Since one of the main concerns for companies is whether or not they should relocate, it is investments like this one that incentivize companies to stay here. This means that companies provide jobs to local workers, creating a healthy trust in the direction of the state’s market, while they contribute to its growth.