Chasing Our Tails finds home in Minneota, Tracy

Photo by Deb Gau The vacant Schott Corporation building in Minneota will be the new location of a packaging and distribution center, for a business owner who had previously been interested in the County Fair building in Marshall. Steve Trachtenberg, owner of the Chasing Our Tails pet treat company, bought the property earlier this month.

MINNEOTA — A business owner, who withdrew from Marshall after resistance from neighbors of the property he intended to buy, will be setting up shop in Minneota and Tracy.

Instead of building a pet treat production and packaging facility in the former County Fair supermarket building, Chasing Our Tails owner Steve Trachtenberg said he will be dividing operations between the former Schott building in Minneota and the former Salmon Chevrolet-Oldsmobile building in Tracy.

“We’re already starting to move in there,” Trachtenberg said of the Schott building, located on Jefferson Street in Minneota. The building has been vacant for nearly 20 years. However, Trachtenberg said the facility was well-kept, and had plenty of power and features like loading docks.

Trachtenberg said he purchased the property on April 9, the same day a request for a conditional use permit on the County Fair building was formally withdrawn.

Trachtenberg is moving his business from Hudson, New Hampshire, to southwest Minnesota, with the goal of being in operation by Memorial Day. Trachtenberg had shown interest in the vacant County Fair building in Marshall, but neighbors of the property voiced intense objections to the proposal.

After hearing about Chasing Our Tails’ search for a building, Area Development of Minneota (ADOM) reached out to Trachtenberg last month.

“I contacted Steve, when I read that he was looking for something in the area,” said ADOM board member Eric Bot. In the past, ADOM has mainly offered small business loans to encourage development in and around Minneota. Last year, property owner Owen Schott donated the Schott building to the organization, Bot said.

“ADOM’S mission was to find a new business a home in Minneota,” he said. And the Schott building fit Trachtenberg’s needs. Owen Schott had maintained the property well over the years, said ADOM board member Bill Ufkin.

“They have been wonderful people to deal with,” Ufkin said of Chasing Our Tails.

It was exciting to have a new business bring jobs to town, Bot said. “For a town like Minneota, it means a lot.”

In Tracy, Trachtenberg had already purchased the former Salmon property, located on Fourth Street. However, it wasn’t a big enough space for both pet treat production and packaging, he said. The new plan is to renovate the Tracy property into a production facility, while the Minneota property will handle packaging and distribution, under the name “Sky Tinted Products Group.”

Trachtenberg said renovations in the Tracy building will include utility upgrades, as well as the addition of a 4,000 square-foot freezer.

The move would bring 15-20 jobs to Tracy, and 10-15 jobs to Minneota, Trachtenberg estimated.

Tracy Development Corporation board member Jim Keul said working to get Chasing Our Tails established in Tracy has been a group effort, including the TDC, the Tracy Economic Development Authority, the city, and local contractors.

“Fortunately, we’ve had some buildings that can be retrofitted,” Keul said — even despite a setback when snow and ice caused a roof collapse on the first planned building site for Chasing Our Tails.

Having the business move into Tracy has been “extremely exciting” for the community, Keul said.

Trachtenberg said both Minneota and Tracy have been welcoming.

The two cities have development corporations, community members and city government that have given valuable support for his business.

“Minneota and Tracy stepped up and helped each other,” Trachtenberg said — even if they didn’t know it at first.

Although it was disappointing that “a vocal minority” opposed Chasing Our Tails coming to Marshall, Trachtenberg said he did hear from many people in support of his business. “I am appreciative of their support.”