California-based King’s Hawaiian is finding that Georgia — and particularly Hall County — has been a “great second home for us,” the bakery giant’s president told The Times in a phone interview.
“The goal is to continue to expand our community presence,” Chad Donvito said. “We want to invest in Hall County. We want to be in the community, we love being there, so … an expansion of the production facility just makes sense.”
He noted the company’s work with area organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs, Junior Achievement and Lanier Technical College.
Gov. Brian Kemp’s office announced earlier this month an $85 million expansion of King’s Hawaiian operations at 5425 Aloha Way in Oakwood, a move that’s expected to result in 160 new jobs. The company now employs about 700 at the site, Donvito said.
“We are looking forward to continuing to work with this beloved brand in the coming years to provide further opportunities for Hall County and the entire State of Georgia,” Kemp said.
Grading is well underway off H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway and McEver Road for the new building, which “will house a 150,000-square-foot bakery with space for future expansion and will enable King’s Hawaiian to continue to increase production significantly,”according to a press release.
The company will hire for positions in management, maintenance, food safety and quality control.
Donvito said he expects the new plant to open in late 2023.
“We are looking at what we could do in this facility with innovation, with new products, but I don’t have anything solidified as exactly what we’re going to do right now,” he said.
King’s Hawaiian, which was founded in 1950 in Hawaii, opened operations in Hall in 2011, and has steadily grown since then, including adding a fourth production line in September 2020 at a cost of $30 million.
There’s room for the growth in the new building, as it will contain two production lines, Donvito said.
“We have enough acreage (at the site) to be able to expand upon that — the exact square footage, I don’t know yet,” he said.