Apr 8, 2016

The Little Potato Co. cropping up in DeForest, adding 130 jobs by 2019

Excerpted from Wisconsin State Journal

By Amanda Finn

The Little Potato Co. is forking over more than $20 million to spread its roots to Wisconsin.

Officials from the Canada-based company — which specializes in cultivating the petite creamer potato — announced Thursday they will open a U.S. head office and packing facility in DeForest that is expected to employ 130 people by 2019.

“Overall it makes a lot of sense because of the jobs it’s going to provide for our community, the stature it provides, and it helps us out to show that we can collaborate … with businesses that will complement The Little Potato Co. and others to come,” said DeForest Village President Judd Blau.

Sandy Gleddie, vice president of operations for The Little Potato Co., said the 130,000-square-foot facility will hire 50 people when the building opens in January and the staff will grow to 130 in the next two to three years.

The $20 million project is being assisted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. with $740,000 in business development tax credits, which are earned through investment and job creation requirements, according to the company and WEDC.

“By locating its U.S. headquarters in DeForest, The Little Potato Co. leverages Wisconsin’s strong agricultural history and global leadership in food processing, tapping exceptional educational resources and an unmatched supply chain,” WEDC secretary and CEO Mark Hogan said in a statement.

The Little Potato Co. considered several locations before choosing Wisconsin for its first U.S. facility.

The criteria included finding a quality potato growing region, access to transportation routes and the availability of workers, according to the statement. Wisconsin farmers grew potatoes on 62,500 acres last year, ranking No. 3 in the nation, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

But the feeling of home is one of the things that ultimately sold the location to The Little Potato Co.

“We decided to stay in Wisconsin because we really, truly felt at home as soon as we came,” Gleddie said. “The same things that are important to you guys are important to us.”

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