Kraft says it's bringing more than just 120 jobs to Miami
By Samantha Joseph
Kraft Foods executives say the relocation of its Latin American headquarters to Coral Gables is bringing not only jobs but also fringe benefits to Miami-Dade County.
Apart from adding nearly 100 employees from outside Florida, the move also brought family members who will spend money in local businesses and contribute to the economy, the company says.
Kraft's June 28 move created 120 jobs, each paying about $76,000 annually, according to the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade's economic development agency.
"The people are largely executives and vice presidents with a lot of disposable income," said Cristian Sainz, director of corporate affairs for Kraft Foods Latin America.
About 65% of the workers moved here. Most came from Rye Brook, NY, the former base of Kraft's Latin and Caribbean headquarters, or outside the US.
Kraft will invest nearly $2.14 million in the county, the Beacon Council says.
Mr. Sainz says there are other benefits worth counting. "The indirect impact is huge," he said. "All these people will be shopping here, getting local help, and most of us are buying at least two cars."
The company held a welcome party for its employees at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and paid for rooms for newly arriving executives.
Its marketers say Kraft has started local efforts that benefit Caribbean and Hispanic communities in Miami-Dade. They say local employees participate in Hands on Miami, a non-profit organization that performs a variety of community services from building low-income housing to caring for homeless pets.
News of Kraft's intention to relocate to Miami-Dade emerged in December. Since then, county and Coral Gables promoters have called the company a welcome boost to the economy.
"If they end up in Coral Gables, we will be happy to assist them and their employees," Stephen Albee, the city's business administrator, said before the move. "Wherever they go, we're going to be happy and supportive."
He and other local marketers hailed the company's decision as a coup for the county.
Kraft is a major publicly traded company. Its investment documents list it as the second-largest branded food and beverage company in the world and the biggest in North America.
Kraft owns more than 35 brands including Oscar Mayer, Nabisco, Shake 'n Bake, Maxwell House, Kool-Aid and Jell-O. Last year, the company reported nearly $30 billion in revenue.
Kraft is based in Northfield, IL, but operates in 150 countries and has about 109,000 employees worldwide. Its US and Canada operations employ about 60,000 people.
Before moving its Latin headquarters to Miami-Dade, the company ran its Caribbean export office from One Alhambra Plaza in Coral Gables. Its new offices take up two floors, nearly 40,000 square feet, at 355 Alhambra Plaza.