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King’s Hawaiian to invest $85M in Georgia expansion, hiring

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OAKWOOD, Ga. >> King’s Hawaiian will expand its bakery in Georgia, investing $85 million and hiring more than 160 new employees.

The privately owned company based in Los Angeles announced Tuesday that it would construct a 150,000-square-foot (14,000-square-meter) building across the street from its existing production plant in Oakwood, northeast of Atlanta. The company says the new plant, scheduled to open in fall 2023, will allow it to increase production “significantly.”

The maker of breads, rolls, buns and sauces currently has more than 700 employees in Oakwood.

King’s Hawaiian CEO Mark Taira said the company has benefited from food science, manufacturing and robotics partnerships in the state. The highly mechanized plant operates 24 hours a day and was producing 75% of the company’s products by 2019.

King’s Hawaiian was founded in 1950 in Hilo, Hawaii, and operated in Honolulu before opening a bakery in Torrance, Calif., in 1977 and eventually shifting all business to the mainland. The Georgia plant was opened in 2010 to improve the distribution of the company’s breads on the East Coast and added a fourth production line in 2020 at a cost of about $30 million.

The company is expected to use Georgia’s Quick Start program, which provides training tailored to employers, for new workers. Georgia officials didn’t say how much the state would spend on job training.

The company would be eligible for a Georgia tax credit allowing it to annually deduct $1,250 per job from state income taxes, up to $1 million over five years, as long as workers make at least $31,300 a year.

Oakwood and Hall County officials could also grant property tax breaks.

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