Jim Golladay, founder of Ohio Pet Foods, dies at 76

A 50-year-plus veteran of the pet food industry, Golladay started his company in 1978 and continued to expand it internationally and through acquisitions.

Courtesy of Ohio Pet Foods/BrightPet Nutrition Group
Courtesy of Ohio Pet Foods/BrightPet Nutrition Group

James R. Golladay, co-founder of Ohio Pet Foods and a 50-year-plus veteran of the pet food and animal feed industries, died on January 4, 2021. He was 76.

After graduating from high school, Golladay partnered with his father, Robert Golladay, at the Rogers Mill in Rogers, Ohio, USA, and grew the business to overcapacity. That led to the founding of his greatest success, Ohio Pet Foods, in 1978. 

Jim ran the day-to-day operations, drove the delivery truck and continued to grow the business with his partners, his father and cousin Fred Schuller. Golladay became the sole owner of Ohio Pet Foods after his father’s death in 1990 and the buyout of his cousin in 1997.

Golladay then expanded the co-manufacturing business into the international market, traveling with a U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored trade mission in the mid-1990s; to this day his legacy company sells products in more than 30 countries around the world. Starting in 1997, Golladay welcomed his children into the business: first Travis that year, then Angie Crossen in 1999 and Matt, now CEO of the current company, BrightPet Nutrition Group, in 2008.

Golladay also oversaw the purchase of his largest branded customer, Blackwood Pet Food, in 2011, and a competitor, Southern Tier Pet Nutrition, in 2012. In 2016, he sold a majority share of the combined company to a private equity firm, Graham Partners, which created BrightPet Nutrition Partners. (In October 2020, A&M Capital Partners acquired a majority interest in the company.)

The Golladay family has requested that material tributes take the form of donations to the Jim Golladay Scholarship Fund at Cardinal Mooney High School, 2545 Erie St., Youngstown, OH 44507, or to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516. Condolences and tributes can also be posted at www.higgins-reardon.com.

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