Simmons' Emporia expansion bringing 100 jobs (and maybe 100 more)

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EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A $60 million expansion in Emporia opened its doors Thursday and promises to bring scores of new jobs to the community.

Simmons Pet Food, Inc. invested millions of dollars into its newest packaging facility. The expansion brings 100 new jobs to the city with the potential for 100 more later.

"We are proud to be here," Jason Godsey, President of Simmons Pet Food, Inc. said.

Simmons' continued expansion in Emporia allows them to provide different ways of packaging pet food. This new facility increases their pet food cup output to 9 million cases and tubs to 2.4 million.

Godsey said they're also building their relationship with the city of Emporia.

"Our business is only as good as our team members provide our strength,” Godsey said. “In Emporia there is such a great wealth of qualified employees to work and do these jobs that we need to support our pets."

Governor Laura Kelly views the expansion as a positive.

"The expansion of this plant is a prime example among a number of significant steps forward for the Emporia community,” Kelly said. “The gaze of housing, industry, higher education and the quality of life improvements make Emporia a community that others look to for ideas and inspiration."

“We have a saying in Emporia, that we are a community that speaks with one voice,” Emporia Mayor Jon Geitz said. “Today that message is, ‘Thank you to the Simmons family and company, for trusting that our community and citizens will be a great asset today and in the future.’"

Prior to the expansion, the Emporia location of Simmons Pet Food, Inc. employed about 500 people.