Around Town

Why did the banana leave Charlotte? Because it got a better deal in Brazil

The Story

Three years ago, the Queen City did a good dose of thumb-nosing for luring Chiquita from Cincinnati. On Wednesday, the Queen City became the shunned one: the banana/salads company is relocating its headquarters.

The Facts

– In 2011, Chiquita high-tailed it from Cincinnati and emblazoned its blue and yellow logo on the NASCAR Plaza office tower.

– It took about $22 million in some pretty controversial incentives from North Carolina and Charlotte to make that happen.

– Turns out, even as they were settling into their new CLT digs, Chiquita had started acquisition talks.

– Earlier this month, two Brazilian companies acquired Chiquita for $681 million. Unclear on where the new headquarters will be.

– Some 300 local employees will be affected.

The Quotes

Then: When Chiquita came in 2011, Twitter was popping with pride, especially from the account of the then-CEO Fernando Aguirre:

Now: Commentary isn’t so rah-rah. – “You can’t expect loyalty from any company if you’re paying them to move. Government was basically prostituting themselves to get them here. … Nobody falls in love with a prostitute.” – Meck Commissioner Bill James

C5’s Take

This one hurts for Charlotte. Let’s just hope Chiquita coughs up the incentives they’ve already accepted. I guess the Queen City is Team Dole, now.

Photos: John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer

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