Royal Canin USA plant

The Royal Canin plant in North Sioux City is shown in a Journal file photo. A year after breaking ground on a larger, more modern plant, the pet food manufacturer announced plans Wednesday to add up to 50 jobs, growing the workforce to around 230.

Dave Dreeszen, Sioux City Journal file

NORTH SIOUX CITY — Royal Canin is looking to add up to 50 new jobs in North Sioux City, where the pet food manufacturer is replacing its current plant with a $120 million upgrade.

Royal Canin’s job creation plans, released Wednesday, comes a year after its parent company, Mars, Inc. announced it was building a 224,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art plant to replace the existing 130,000-square-foot plant. About $60 million will be spent on construction, and another $60 million will go towards state-of-the-art equipment.

The manufacturer, which currently employs about 180 in North Sioux City, has openings ranging from line workers to management and will soon post the jobs on its website. New hires will start at the current plant and then move to the new facility when it opens in spring 2019.

The expansion is part of Mars’ aggressive attempts at investing in the U.S. In the last five years, the company has spent more than $1 billion on improving or building new facilities across the country.

Daniel Klapuch, site director for Royal Canin in North Sioux City, said the need for a larger workforce has developed since company officials announced its construction plans. At the time, the business did not anticipate any new jobs.

"We are just seeing continued significant growth," Klapuch said. "It's just requiring us to meet the demand of our customers. Again, we are just seeing significant growth and it's a good position to be in."

The unemployment rate in the Sioux City metro was at 3.2 percent in July, according to Iowa Workforce Development, and it has been at record level lows in recent months.

Despite that challenge,  Klapuch seemed confident his company would be able to attract viable candidates.

"I really believe that we have a culture that is very, very unique, that's very appealing," he said. "We have fun in the workplace, we are a pet-centric organization and we just believe that we are Siouxland's premier work place. I don't feel that there's going to be an issue attracting 45 to 50 new associates."

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