The old Real Food Pet Factory on Swanbrook Road has been reopened under new owners, Sapphire Nutrition, creating 60 full time jobs and boosting the demand for local produce.
The new owners, Sapphire Nutrition Pty Limited, include Inverell-based Wes Sims and Peter Oliver, along with food manufacturing industry veterans, the Greens Group and Premier Stockfeeds, who joined forces to purchase the sprawling 10-hectare facility following the departure of the factory’s previous owners in December 2021.
Factory Manager Wes Sims said Sapphire Nutrition’s factory launch would provide a huge boost to the area, creating 60 local jobs within its first 2 years of operation, and committing to use local produce where they can.
“Today, we are launching a transformational project for Inverell which will not only create jobs but also create a new market for local businesses, with around 80 per cent of raw materials to be sourced within a 150 kilometre radius.”
With close to 30 years in the pet food manufacturing industry, Mr Sims says he and Site Manager Peter Oliver believe the time is right to launch a premium dry pet food production facility, with the Australian pet food industry booming and 2.7% growth per annum expected until 2026.
From a strategic perspective, the factory is ideally positioned with Bindaree Beef abattoirs located just minutes away and local transport company, Inverell Freighters, operating a fleet of 30 prime-movers and 50 trailers.
“We’ve received tremendous support already from Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, local suppliers and major players in the Australian pet food industry who are looking to expand their customised and premium pet food lines”.
Products to be manufactured at the facility will be a combination of premium products which will include Sapphire Nutrition’s own brand; a suite of boutique brands; and some private label products.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall praised the owners for pursuing their new business venture, lauding it as another huge shot-in-the-arm for the Inverell economy.
“This is really exciting news for the Inverell community,” Mr Marshall said.
“It’s wonderful to see 60 new full-time jobs will be created and this longstanding processing facility will have new life breathed into it.”
“Inverell is a growing community which is on the move and this development is just another tangible sign of the community’s exciting future.”
With a target factory start date of April 2023, Mr Oliver says custom built technology for the production line is already under development and employee recruitment will start soon.
Image: L:R Arran Green (Investor), The Hon. Adam Marshall MP, Nelson Green (Investor and Director of the Green Group), Deputy Mayor Kate Dight and Inverell based owners, Peter Oliver, Operations Manager and Wesley Sims, Factory Manager. (Supplied)