Latino Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a La Chiquita Tortilla Manufacturer (La Chiquita) is a family owned and operated business. The company takes pride in using premium ingredients to create the highest quality tortilla products. La Chiquita offers custom products while also servicing national chain restaurants. The company has 182 employees at its state of the art manufacturing plant in Atlanta.
La Chiquita is considering establishing a second manufacturing facility. If the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) program incentive is made available to the company, La Chiquita will create 110 new-to-Florida jobs by December 31, 2020, paying an average annual wage of $43,680, which is at least 102% of the State of Florida annual wage. In an effort to spur manufacturing job growth, the QTI program allows for a waiver of the 115% average wage requirement for these projects, requiring proposed jobs are at least 100% of the applicable average annual wage. The average value of benefits that will be available to employees is $5,000, which includes healthcare and 401(k) contributions, paid vacation, and short and long term disability insurance. La Chiquita’s total capital investment is estimated to be $9.8 million in construction and equipment. In addition to the City of Orlando, the company is considering Texas, North and South Carolina and Virginia for this project.
The State of Florida will provide a total of $330,000 to Latino Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a La Chiquita Tortilla Manufacturer under the QTI program, which includes the City's local financial support. City staff proposes to provide the local 20% QTI match, up to $600 per job created, paying an average annual wage of $43,680. Staff also requests a manufacturing project wage waiver in accordance with section 288.106(4)(b)1.b., Florida Statutes. Under this arrangement, the City of Orlando would provide $66,000 as an incentive over an eight-year period. City staff is recommending this match because La Chiquita is: 1) a targeted growth industry; 2) creating 110 new jobs; 3) investing $9.8 million in construction and equipment; and 5) considering other states for relocation.
The City of Orlando will benefit through the creation of 110 positions over the next five (5) years and the likelihood of continued job growth and investment well beyond this time frame. Florida's Qualified Target Industry Program includes strict accountability requirements of the applicant. The pledge of funds pursuant to this resolution shall be contingent upon Latino Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a La Chiquita Tortilla Manufacturer being qualified by the State of Florida as a QTI Program participant, meeting its job and wage obligations under the program and future budget appropriations by the Orlando City Council.