Gelato company plans move to Marietta
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
August 23, 2012 12:46 AM | 3868 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A gelato company is moving into a former Kroger ice cream production facility off Marietta Industrial Drive, where it expects to create 100 jobs.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said he planned to celebrate by picking up some Talenti Gelato at the grocery store.

“It’s good to have a well-known product that’s going to be made right here in Marietta,” Tumlin said.

Kroger moved out of the multi-building, 83,000-square-foot facility near the intersection of Canton Road and Interstate 75 in January when it consolidated its operations.

Privately owned Talenti Gelato, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, plans to maintain its existing plant in Dallas but relocate its primary production headquarters to Marietta.

“The country’s best-selling gelato will be right at home in one of America’s greatest communities, so hello Marietta,” Bob Burns, Talenti’s vice president of operations, said in a news release, noting he would be moving here to manage the facility.

Talenti advertises its products, which are carried in most national supermarkets and food retailers, as all-natural, artisanal gelato and sorbetto. The company’s flavors include banana chocolate swirl, Belgian milk chocolate and sea-salt caramel.

Steve Gill, one of the company’s three managing partners, said the primary factor for locating in Marietta was the existing ice cream facility, because the company had outgrown the one it operates in Dallas.

“The plant has a lot of excellent utility infrastructure with the freezers and the blast chamber, and the building had been very well maintained by the Kroger Corporation, and it was in good condition geographically,” he said.

Gill said the goal is to have the plant, which they bought for an undisclosed sum, making gelato by the end of the year. They plan to begin with 75 to 80 jobs and within a short period of time expand to at least 100, he said.

“There’s several management jobs, we have a human resources job, we have quality assurance jobs, we have production jobs, we have production management jobs, we’ll have warehousing jobs, logistics jobs, procurement jobs, engineering jobs … you know, this is a sophisticated plant that requires very bright, high-level people to run properly,” Gill said.

While Gill said the company doesn’t release its annual revenues, a look at the syndicated grocery sales data shows the company on track to being about a $100 million retail brand this year.

“If you’re Nestlé, it might not be major, but for us as a private business it’s a meaningful business, and it’s growing at about 100 percent a year,” he said.

The property is in one of the city’s opportunity zones and qualifies for the state tax-credit program, which grants $3,500 per job created annually for five years. The Development Authority of Marietta will also provide the firm a $25,000 grant when it hires at least 60 employees.

Beth Sessoms, the city’s economic development director, said the firm’s annual payroll for the first year is $2,553,000 to $3,030,000.

Sessoms said she wasn’t aware of any other financial incentives the company was receiving aside from job placement assistance through Cobb Works, a federally funded program, and job training assistance through the Georgia Quick Start program.

Talenti was founded by Josh Hochschuler in 2003.

Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said food processing is the largest sector in Georgia’s manufacturing industry, adding that “Talenti Gelato is a leader in its field.”

“We’re very excited to become members of the Marietta business community, and we plan to be good corporate citizens and good local citizen as well and are thrilled to be moving to Marietta,” Gill said.
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