Relationships keyed Tracy’s selection

Chasing Our Tails entrepreneur Steve Trachtenberg (second from left) reviews remodeling plans for the former Hebig Electric/Tracy Bottling building with Tracy Development Corporation members during a recent tour. TDC members, from left, include Mark Seager, Dale Johnson III, Jim Keul, Jeff Salmon, John Lanoue, Dean Salmon.

By Seth Schmidt

Why Tracy?

Steve Trachtenberg and Elena Kalogeropoulos of Chasing Our Tails premium pet-treats, say they’ve been asked many times why Tracy was chosen as the location for their company’s expanded operations.

The short answer is that one of their meat buyers, Martin Bell, asked them if they’d be interested in buying a meat-processing plant in Sanborn.  They were. They then discovered large buildings that fit their needs in nearby Tracy.

But the human dimension also factored into their decision.

“Tracy residents need to know how hard people on their EDA, the Tracy development group, and the city administrator worked to get us here,” says Trachtenberg.  “It was those six, seven, or eight guys that people need to thank for getting us here.”

He found Tracy leaders to be  “visionary” and “solution-orientated,” and he appreciated that.

Kalogeropoulos says “the spirit of Tracy is so evident in everyone that we have met.” She likes the excitement, openness, and friendliness of the Tracy area people she has met.

“Minnesota Nice is real, it’s palpable,” Kalogeropoulos adds.  “When people in Tracy inquire about your health and ask how things are going, they really mean it.  That’s not the case everywhere.”

In the weeks and months that they have been researching Tracy, Trachtenberg says trust and friendships have developed.

“I know that if I tell Dale Johnson that I’ve got four truckloads of refrigeration equipment that are coming, I can count on him to take care of it.”  (Johnson and his construction crew unloaded the trucks, and put them into temporary storage in the Salmon building.)

Trachtenberg also expresses gratitude for the many regional and state agencies that have been supportive of their expansion plans, including AURI at Southwest State University, the USDA office in Sioux Falls, the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture, REED, and the Minnesota Dept. of Economic Development. 

“It’s been amazing,” Trachtenberg reflects.

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The Chasing Our Tales leaders stress that they are also pleased to be locating in an agricultural area with a thriving livestock industry.

“It’s nice to be in a place where people understand and respect the livestock industry,” says Kalogeropoulos.   “People here ‘get it.”  People here understand that food doesn’t come down from a chute in a Styrofoam package.”

Trachtenberg says he admires how hard rural, ag people work.   His company’s goal will be to compliment the region’s economy, by adding value to farm products and add value to communities, while respecting the animal and the land.

Why Tracy?

“I say, ‘why not Tracy?’ responds Kalogeropoulos.  “You can’t be afraid to dream.”