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New Orleans Loses Smoothie King’s Headquarters to Texas

The news was announced Tuesday

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Homegrown brand Smoothie King is moving its headquarters from Metairie to North Texas, a big loss for the New Orleans area. The news was announced Tuesday.

It’ll cost the city only 60 jobs (twenty percent of Smoothie King’s workforce will stay), but it’s still a major blow. The company has nearly 1,000 locations internationally and it’s planning an “aggressive expansion” in the coming years, which would likely mean hiring more people.

And that’s one of the implied reasons for the move: CEO Wan Kim praised Dallas’ “larger talent pool” in a Dallas News report.

Holding onto the headquarters also has “symbolic value,” says the Advocate, so the loss of it will harm the overall perception of New Orleans.

Though Louisiana officials concerned with the economy have failed at enticing Kim to keep the headquarters in the state, Kim says he remains committed to Louisiana and its economy.

Steve Kuhnau opened the first Smoothie King in Kenner in 1973. By 1989, the first franchised locations opened in New Orleans. In 2003, Kim, who became devoted to the brand while in college in the United States, became a franchisee and threw open the doors to Smoothie King in his native South Korea, its first international location. In 2012, Steve and Cindy Kuhnau sold the company to Kim.

In a deal worth $40 million, Smoothie King bought the naming rights to the New Orleans’ basketball arena in 2014. The contract lasts 10 years, with the option to add 10 more.

Smoothie King’s major competitor, Jamba Juice, is also headquartered in the Dallas area.

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