Smoothie King HQ to stay, expand in Louisiana - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Smoothie King HQ to stay, expand in Louisiana

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Louisiana-based Smoothie King, which was sold in July to a South Korea-based corporation, will move its headquarters from Covington to Jefferson Parish and expand its 45-person headquarters staff with 60 new jobs.

The announcement was made Tuesday by state officials and Greater New Orleans Inc., the economic development agency for 10 New Orleans-area parishes. The 60 new jobs will pay an average salary of $75,000.

GNO Inc. said incentives for Smoothie King to stay included a $2.4 million Louisiana Economic Development grant to offset lease payments and office improvements at the company's future headquarters and flight differential costs for New Orleans versus other markets.

"Smoothie King looked closely at moving to Texas, but they chose to stay here in Louisiana because we have a strong business climate and the best workers in the world," Gov. Bobby Jindal said in a prepared statement.

SK USA Inc. purchased Smoothie King in July from co-founders Steve and Cindy Kuhnau. The corporation is headed by Chief Executive Officer Wan Kim, a Boston University graduate who opened his first Smoothie King franchise in 2003. Since then Wan's Smoothies Korea has opened more than 100 locations.

Wan said SK USA plans to open more than 1,000 new locations in the United States and worldwide by the end of 2017.

Jefferson Parish President John Young noted that Smoothie King was founded in the parish

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome Smoothie King's headquarters back to Jefferson Parish," he said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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