Pet food maker Stella & Chewy’s will expand its Oak Creek headquarters. That $67.7 million project will add 245 jobs.

Natural pet food maker Stella & Chewy's plans to nearly double the size of its Oak Creek facility.

A plan to nearly double the size of natural pet food maker Stella & Chewy’s Oak Creek headquarters is proceeding — a $67.7 million project expected to create 245 jobs over the next three years.

The project is to generate up to $2 million in state income tax credits, according to a Wednesday announcement from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The actual amount of tax credits Stella & Chewy’s will receive is based on the number of jobs created.

The company plans to build a 35,156 square-foot addition to the west side and a 104,090 square-foot addition to the east side of the existing 164,007 square-foot building, 111 W. Oakview Parkway.

That’s according to plans approved in August by the Oak Creek Plan Commission.

At that time, the company said it expected to increase its permanent and temporary production workers from 400 to 500 during three years following the expansion, according to a city Plan Commission report.

According to WEDC, Stella & Chewy’s now expects to hire 245 employees.

The expansion will include additional food production and shipping improvements on the east and a new freezer on the west.

Stella & Chewy’s also has 75 office workers, according to the Plan Commission report.

“Stella & Chewy’s has expanded our sales and product offerings over the past few years and we expect the growth to continue,” said Chief Executive Officer Marc Hill, in a statement.

“We welcome and appreciate the support we’ve received from WEDC and are looking forward to bringing the additional employment opportunities to the area,” Hill said.

Stella & Chewy’s  is named for company founder Marie Moody’s dogs.

Moody launched Stella & Chewy’s in 2003 in her apartment in Manhattan, where she worked as a fashion industry sales rep. Moody had rescued a sick dog, Chewy, from an animal shelter.

On a veterinarian’s advice, Moody began feeding Chewy raw meat, fruit and vegetables. That nursed the dog back to health — and led Moody to start selling natural pet food to local stores.

She moved the company to her hometown of Muskego in 2006 before relocating in 2011 to a bigger building on Milwaukee’s south side.

Stella & Chewy’s growth led to a 2015 move to its current facility at OakView Business Park at South Howell Avenue and West Oakwood Road.

Tom Daykin, Journal Sentinel

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