Facility expansion will create 150 jobs, $10.7 million capital investment
JUNEAU, WI. JULY 13, 2022 – Whisker, a self-cleaning litter box manufacturer, is responding to spiking product demand by expanding its facility in Juneau–a $10.7 million project expected to create 150 jobs over the next two years.
“Whisker’s second facility expansion in the past two years reinforces its standing in the Juneau community and in Wisconsin,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the state’s lead economic development organization. “This project’s job creation could provide a huge, long-lasting boost to the local economy.”
“Our desire to grow our U.S. operations was already something we were confident in,” said Jacob Zuppke, CEO and president of Whisker. “The incentives from WEDC and the support we got from the community, with regards to our ability to add more land and continue growing in the city we were already in, reassured us that we’re in the right place and that our investment deserves to stay in Juneau.”
WEDC is supporting the project by authorizing up to $450,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of tax credits Whisker will receive is contingent upon the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment during that period.
Whisker will be adding an office to its existing, 62,000 square foot building, which a 2020 renovation nearly doubled in size, while also constructing an adjacent, 150,000 square foot facility. This continued expansion is a response to rapidly growing demand for Whisker products and inefficiencies at the current facility. The new building will primarily serve as a warehouse, allowing the existing one to be used more as production and office space. Whisker’s site in Juneau sits on sloped topography, which makes development especially costly.
“We’re creating the awareness of automatic litter boxes and how much they can impact the lives of pet parents, and that has resulted in the Litter-Robot’s growth,” Zuppke explained.
In addition to the 150 jobs expected to be created by Whisker, an economic modeling study estimates the project could indirectly generate 70 additional jobs in the region. Those 220 jobs new jobs are expected to generate $417,196 in state income tax revenue over a five-year period.
Delaware-based Whiskers Holdings, Inc. owns Whisker, which is headquartered in Auburn Hills, MI and was called Automated Pet Care Products until a summer 2021 rebrand. Whisker’s signature product is the Litter-Robot, a self-cleaning litter box designed by founder and cat-owner Brad Baxter. The highly engineered litter box is designed to improve the litter-cleaning experience and the lives of cat owners. Whisker has occupied the Juneau location, its current assembly and fulfillment center, for 10 years. The company’s American-made products are distributed worldwide.