It was one of Charlotte’s biggest corporate takeovers, and now a year has gone by since Chiquita brought its name and headquarters to Charlotte.
The city and state agreed to millions of dollars in incentives to get the company in Charlotte.
But now the company is sending some of that money back into the community.
Channel 9 has learned that the city of Charlotte said it’s in the process of paying Chiquita more than $600,000 as part of an economic development incentive package that’s based on the company already hiring workers for 302 of the 417 jobs it promised by 2015.
“What we’re trying to do is make a positive impact,” said Chiquita CEO Brian Kocher.
Kocher talked with Chanel 9 one-on-one at the Chiquita Classic golf tournament Wednesday afternoon in Davidson.
He explained that all of the money coming in from the tournament will go back out to local charities.
“I think this is our biggest philanthropic vehicle. The good news is, we can really reach a lot of people,” Kocher said.
The biggest beneficiary of the money will be the Charlotte area’s United Way.
CEO Jane McIntryre told Channel 9 it will spread several hundred thousand extra dollars across dozens of nonprofits.
“For Chiquita, they really have learned very quickly that part of being in this Charlotte region is you have to give back to people in need,” McIntyre said.
But to keep giving back, Chiquita has to put past financial struggles behind it.
Kocher said the company, which has settled in uptown, is poised to grow again.
“We’ve had a couple of good quarters, but we want to be a company that’s known for several quarters in a row, 10, 12 quarters in a row, and so you’ll continue to see us working on our business,” Kocher said.
Kocher acknowledged the change in leadership within Chiquita and its restructuring have taken a lot of company energy.
But he said he sees no reason to think the company won’t meet its promise of creating a total of 417 jobs by 2015.
In all, Chiquita could get about $5 million in incentives from the city, county and state.
Some would be a rebate for property taxes the company owes.
Other incentives will only kick in if Chiquita delivers the jobs it promised.