Thursday, February 28th 2019

Icee leaves California, brings HQ to Middle Tennessee

On Wednesday, the company revealed that it would invest $10.3 million to make the move, creating more than 200 jobs in Rutherford County over the next five years. The full scope of incentives the 52-year-old business will receive for its trek from just east of Los Angeles was not immediately clear.

“Every kid and every parent in America has craved an Icee at one point or another, and now we’re so excited that this iconic company has chosen to call Tennessee home,” Gov. Bill Lee said in a news release.

The announcement ranks among the largest jobs announcements for Rutherford County since 2011. It’s particularly notable because it includes corporate, front-office jobs. Much of the county’s previous job growth has centered on manufacturing and distribution. La Vergne is sandwiched between three fast-growing areas of the region: Antioch to the north and Murfreesboro and Smyrna immediately to the south.

According to the state news release, Icee’s headquarters will be located at 265 Mason Road. That address is undeveloped property immediately north of where Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems.

At the press conference, Icee CEO Dan Fachner said Panattoni Development Co. will build the headquarters, which should be open late this year. Fachner said Icee had been searching for a new headquarters for well more than a year, and “eliminated nine or 10 other states or areas around the country,” ultimately choosing La Vergne. Fachner said 75 percent of Icee’s customer base, such as movie theaters and gas stations, are within a 1,000-mile radius of Middle Tennessee.

The headquarters search was code-named Project Bear, a nod to Icee’s polar bear mascot. In November, the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board approved close to $700,000 of tax breaks for the then-unidentified company.

ICEE is expected to receive some amount of FastTrack grants from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. “At this time, a grant contract with the company has not been legally executed, so we cannot provide details publicly yet,” said department spokesman Scott Harrison.

It wasn’t clear how much aid from the Tennessee Valley Authority that Icee is in line to receive.

Icee is a subsidiary of New Jersey-based J&J Snack Foods Corp. (Nasdaq: JJSF).

 – Senior Reporter, Nashville Business Journal