(Juneau) Juneau Mayor Dan Wegner says he is thrilled about the expansion of a local manufacturer. Michigan-based AutoPets currently employs 90 people, making and shipping the Litter-Robot, an automatic, self-cleaning litter box. The company broke ground in late October on a 30-thousand square foot manufacturing and warehouse space, a new dock area and an expanded parking area. The addition is expected to be in use by spring.
AutoPets President and founder Brad Baxter says the Juneau expansion is the result of the company’s significant growth over the last few years. The business recently launched Litterbox.com and is adding an automatic pet feeder line to complement the company’s automatic litter box, resulting in the company outgrowing its existing facility. Baxter says the company loves Juneau noting a great workforce that really cares about the product.
Wegener says the city of Juneau is working on a $50-thousand dollar incentive package that is expected to help create 20 new jobs. The money for the incentive will come from available dollars in the Community Development Authority fund, which was generated through the Tax Increment Finance District. Wegener says the city’s goal is not only to attract new business, but support and retain the existing industries.
Thrive Economic Development President Vicki Pratt has been working with AutoPets since early 2018, making them aware of incentives offered by the state and city to manufacturers. Pratt says incentives are great, but are not effective if a business does not know about them or how to access them. She says the role of Thrive, which seeks to attract and enhance businesses in Dodge and Jefferson counties, is to try to help make those connections.