Kenosha County Business of the Year: Niagara Bottling

11031 88th Ave., Pleasant Prairie
Industry: Beverage bottling
Employees: 127

California-based Niagara Bottling has been growing its presence in Kenosha County.

The family-owned and -operated bottled water and soft drink supplier built a $56 million facility in Pleasant Prairie in 2014. Six years later, it expanded its storage capacity by adding a second warehouse facility in Kenosha. Most recently, in 2021, the company invested $36 million into its Pleasant Prairie facility to add two production lines, three injection molding machines and 40 jobs.

And in those facilities, Niagara Bottling does it all to create a bottle of water. They start with raw plastic resins and use injection molding equipment to manufacture their own bottles and caps. They fill the bottles, label them, cap them, store them and ship them – two billion per year. The growth has earned Niagara Bottling the recognition of Business of the Year by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance.

Founded in 1963, Niagara manufactures private-label bottled water and beverages for companies like Sam’s Club, Walmart and Speedway, and also has its own brand of bottled water. The company entered Kenosha County in 2014 when it built a highly automated 377,000-square-foot facility in LakeView Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie.

“At that time, there weren’t many buildings at LakeView, it was still growing, so we thought, ‘Let’s be a part of that,’” said Kristan Pruett, senior plant director for the Pleasant Prairie facility. “We look at a lot of things when we’re looking to expand, like customer demand, proximity to natural spring sources and other water sources. I think on top of that, for the Kenosha area specifically, the burgeoning manufacturing community was very appealing.”

The company expanded in 2020 into a second building that can store more than 20,000 pallets of bottled water. Then in 2021, Niagara Bottling added to its production capacity at the LakeView facility to meet the company’s growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 2023, the company employs 127 people in Kenosha County, a 70% increase since 2020. Niagara’s revenue has also increased 35% since 2020.

Pruett attributes the company’s growth to the level of trust they’ve developed with their customers by being reliable and safe, especially throughout the pandemic and its fallout when consumer demand for bottled water soared.

“We continue to grow because we understand the fluctuations in the market and the challenges that came along with COVID,” Pruett said. “There’s been a lot of challenges from labor force to supply chain constraints, and we were able to adapt and evolve and figure out a way to make it happen.”

Read more at the BizTimes.

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