ALUMINI SPOTLIGHT: Barrett siblings help to grow family business

ALUMINI SPOTLIGHT: Barrett siblings help to grow family business
Posted on 11/29/2023
This is the image for the news article titled ALUMINI SPOTLIGHT: Barrett siblings help to grow family businessBY SHEILA DECHANTEL
Read the 2023 Fall Edition of Brainerd Public Schools Magazine in its entirety HERE.

Siblings Sarah and Tom Barrett graduated from Brainerd High School in 2004 and 2001, respectively.

The siblings grew up on a 2,000-acre farm and knew from a young age hard work pays off. Between helping at the farm, school, and after-school sports, their lives were full. After graduation, Tom went to the University of North Dakota for aviation and Sarah chose a community college in Arizona.

Coming home on summer break in the early 2000s, Sarah found out her father purchased a used twin-screw extruder from Norway to produce organic fertilizer for golf courses. Sarah helped her father over the summer to do the paperwork and help in the office. As things were taking off, Sarah made the decision not to return to school and stay and help her father.

In a short time, it was discovered the machinery their father purchased was actually meant for making premium pet food. This was the beginning of Barrett Petfood Innovations.

In 2008, Tom came to work remotely on the marketing side, eventually moving back to the area to become partners with his sister to grow the business.

While not always easy in the early years, they put their all into making it work, eventually landing large contracts that gave the business the push it needed to continue to grow and expand. In 2011, they began to make profit and have continued to do so ever since.

As of now, Barrett Pet Innovations not only exists in the original location in Brainerd, but in 2020, they opened a second location in Little Falls, employing more than 250 people overall and making 85% premium dog food for many well-known companies, 10% cat food and 5% bird food.

And that original used twin-screw extruder? It still works and is the only original piece in the Brainerd location — being one of two in the United States.

Sarah and Tom never dreamed they would ever work together, let alone run an established business together — yet here they are. They are excited to see what the next generation will contribute to the family business.
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