Long Island pet-chow firm will stay, thanks to IDA

Carrying the load: A Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency tax-abatement deal will help a Long Island pet-food company remain a Long Island pet-food company.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Long Island’s largest pet-food company seems likely to remain a Long Island company, thanks to man’s best friend – at least, a good friend of regional enterprise.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency has issued preliminarily approval of an economic-development package that would help Deer Park-based Health Extension Pet Care – doing business as Holistic Health Extension – purchase, renovate and equip a new headquarters building.

According to the IDA, the tax-abatement deal will help offset the costs of an $8 million investment in the new 55,000-square-foot warehousing and distribution center, located on Commerce Drive in Hauppauge, while helping the company add six new jobs over the next two years.

Holistic Health Extension, a manufacturer of natural pet foods and related products, currently employs 12 full-timers at its 17,000-square-foot Deer Park headquarters. And the third-generation, family-owned firm has simply outgrown those confines, according to Suffolk County IDA Executive Director Tony Catapano.

“The proposed purchase of a new building will provide the additional space needed to support Holistic Health Extension’s growth,” Catapano said this week.

While the IDA must still issue final approval of the undisclosed economic-incentives deal preliminarily approved this week, the executive director was playing past that, adding his agency was “pleased to play a role in this project, [which] will keep a homegrown company from uprooting its successes while retaining and creating jobs for Long Islanders.”

And Holistic Health Extension – a member of the nonprofit Pet Sustainability Coalition known primarily for wholesome pet foods and financial support of community-based rescue organizations – is pleased to receive the help, according to President Brad Gruber.

“We’re excited to purchase a new headquarters that will be able to house all of our employees and inventory all while providing us with the necessary space to continue expanding,” Gruber said in a statement. “We are grateful for our partnership with the IDA that enables us to keep our business and employees right here in Suffolk County, where our company was founded.”

That’s the IDA’s job, according to Deputy Executive Director Kelly Morris, who noted the “vital importance” of the agency’s role in supporting local sustainability and economic growth.

“Without the IDA’s involvement, many growing companies will consider moving their operations and jobs to other parts of the country,” Morris said this week. “The IDA’s assistance will prevent the largest pet food company on Long Island from leaving and taking their economic footprint elsewhere.”