Chasing our tails to expand

By Per Peterson

The president of Chasing Our Tails in Tracy has reached an agreement to purchase the Seneca Foods Corporation packing plant — formerly owned by Del Monte — in Sleepy Eye for an undisclosed price.

In an interview with the Tracy Area Headlight Herald on Monday, Steve Trachtenberg said the acquisition will not impact his manufacturing operation in Tracy.

“Our problem is, we’re growing very fast and we need more space,” Trachtenberg said. “Chasing Our Tails in Tracy is not going anywhere. We’ll continue to manufacture in Tracy, and Sleepy Eye would support Tracy operations, not the other way around. We’re not going anywhere; production is staying in Tracy. There is absolutely zero risk of production moving out of Tracy.”

According to a news release sent out Monday from Chasing Our Tails, Trachtenberg plans to use the almost 215,000 square foot facility in Sleepy Eye in support of expanded packaging operations and new business lines for his company. The deal is contingent upon a number of factors including financing and business outlook considerations, but if successful, is expected to generate 50 jobs in the next couple of years.

“The deal is a long way from done,” said Trachtenberg, who founded Chasing Our Tails in 2009 with a line of dog biscuits. “We’re on first base, we’ve got 90 days to get to second, and I’m not sure there won’t be a double play in the middle of it. It’s a very, very challenging environment to be operating in to try to acquire something that large and expand.”

Trachtenberg said the size and location of the Sleepy Eye facility are the two things that attracted him to it. The location will allow CEO Elena Kalogeropolous to oversee operations there. Among his operations, the Tracy plant is the farthest west, Minneota, where packing is done, is the farthest north, and Trachtenberg owns another dog treat company in St. Charles, southeast of Rochester.

The move to purchase the Sleepy Eye facility adds yet another Trachtenberg-owned building on the U.S. Highway 14 corridor.

“It’s centrally-located between both ends of my operation,” he said. “Everything I have is pretty much on Highway 14 now. And it’s still within driving distance for Elena to manage it, which is key.”

Trachtenberg also owns a 100,000-square foot facility in Altura, east of Rochester, and a poultry plant in Utica — southeast of Rochester on Highway 14.

Trachtenberg has invested millions of dollars in Tracy, and his manufacturing plant on 4th St. employs 10 full-time workers. He owns 10 properties within Tracy city limits.

“The community has treated us well,” he said. “I think we and the community are both good for each other. There’s no reason to leave, and there’s no impetus to abandon (Tracy).”

Chasing Our Tails produces preservative-free, odorless chews made from easily-identifiable protein products that come from USDA-inspected production lines. Chasing Our Tails products can be found in more than 5,000 stores throughout the country under its banner and in private label brands.