CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cincinnati has reportedly offered Chiquita an incentive package more generous than Charlotte's in an effort to keep the Fortune 1000 company from relocating its corporate headquarters.
Ohio business leaders, meanwhile, have launched a social media campaign in an effort to persuade the banana giant keep its 400 high-paying jobs from leaving.
One city council candidate took another approach. At lunch hour Friday, P.G. Sittenfeld spent the lunch hour in downtown and handed out bananas with a sticker saying "Chiquita, don't give Cincinnati the slip."
Councilman Chris Bortz told the Business Courier he could not discuss details of Cincinnati's offer due to confidentiality agreements. But he said it exceeds Charlotte's incentive package and that Chiquita has been discussing a package with city officials for months.
"I think we're making it hard for them to say 'no' to Cincinnati," Bortz told the publication.
The Charlotte City Council last week tentatively approved roughly $1 million in incentives as part of an overall package that could be between $4 million and $4.5 million, according to multiple sources familiar with negotiations.
Council members were told that Boca Raton, Fla., was also being considered as a company headquarters. Six years ago, the company considered moving to Atlanta, but decided to stay in Ohio.
One concern of Chiquita is air travel. Chiquita's bananas are grown mostly in Latin America and Cincinnati's airport has no nonstop flights to Latin America, and only one Europe flight, to Paris.
US Airways, the dominant carrier at Charlotte/Douglas International, has limited flights to Latin America, but it does fly nonstop to San Jose in Costa Rica, where Chiquita has a regional headquarters.
Chiquita has also reportedly said a lack of bilingual workers has been a weakness in Cincinnati.