February 6, 2018

Vets First Choice will build $20M corporate facility in Portland

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Benjamin Shaw, founder and CEO of Vets First Choice. The Portland-based company, founded in 2010, announced last fall a $223 million strategic investment to accelerate growth as an online pharmacy and prescription-management provider for veterinarians and their pet-owner clients. On Monday Maine Technology Institute announced that the Portland company would receive a $9 million grant as part of $24.5 million in MTI “Lightning Round” awards made this week that are financed by a $45 million bond approved by voters in June 2017.

Here are the other MTI grant recipients

In addition to the $12.5 million grant awarded to The Jackson Laboratory and the $9 million grant to Vets First Choice, Maine Technology Institute announced three other awards from the Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 program financed by the $45 million bond approved by voters last June that MTI manages on behalf of the state.

An independent economic impact analysis projects that these five projects will lead to 2,040 new jobs and a collective $453 million in economic output for the state, MTI stated in a news release announcing the awards.

Other award recipients:

  • C&L Aerospace Holdings LLC in Bangor, which received a $2.63 million award toward a $5.7 million project to expand its current facility and purchase equipment to support its increased engineering and production efforts. MTI noted that C&L's investments are expected "to increase its technical capabilities, including product development that will lead to additional onsite manufacturing and aircraft modifications" and "spur additional growth in the aviation market for C&L" leading to more jobs. Company revenue is expected to grow 50% over the next three years, according to the news release.

  • Good To-Go LLC of Kittery, which was awarded $150,000 toward a $300,000 project to add a U.S. Department of Agriculture-compliant packaging room to its facility that will include a semi-automated bagging machine. The company, which has been creating and manufacturing gourmet dehydrated meals in Maine since 2014, said the addition will solve a major bottleneck in its production processes and will increase its packaging capacity by 300%. That's expected to help the company, which started four years ago with just its two founders and now has 15 employees, meet consumer demand while increasing sales.

  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear of Biddeford was awarded $177,670 toward a total project cost of $355,341 for a production automations and efficiency project that will help it scale up the commercialization and market competitiveness of its 100% USA-made ultralight outdoor equipment.

Vets First Choice, a Portland company that provides technology-enabled care services for veterinary uses, will build a $20 million corporate facility in Portland.

The news was made public as part of a $9 million grant announced Monday by Maine Technology Institute.

The grant was part of $24.5 million in MTI "Lightning Round" awards made this week from the Maine Technology Asset Fund, which was financed by a $45 million bond approved by voters in June 2017. MTI manages the fund on behalf of the state.

Vets First Choice plans a corporate facility on the peninsula in Portland, according to MTI. The site, the location of which has not been identified, will include an automated fulfillment center, state-of-the-art specialty pharmacy, and a world-class science, technology, engineering and math center. It also promises to "create hundreds of high-quality jobs in Maine," though the MTI press release did not specify how many.

Vets First Choice is based at 7 Custom House St. in Portland.

Separately, Vets First Choice has formed a strategic collaboration with the University of New England College of Pharmacy for residency, training and development programs. Founded in 2010, the company partners with veterinarians to create insight into gaps in patient care and offers professionalized proactive prescription management to drive client engagement and improve compliance.

The company has 800 employees, double that of a year ago. Through July 2017, it had raised $223 million, Mainebiz reported.

Vets First Choice and founder Benjamin Shaw was honored by Mainebiz in 2015, Shaw as a Next Award winner and, as a company, as one of the fastest growing companies in Maine.

Shaw also received a Governor's Award for Business Excellence from the state in December 2017.

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