DULUTH, Minn. -- Jeno F. Paulucci, who grew up in a poor family on Minnesota's Iron Range but founded a multi-million-dollar food business, is moving his headquarters to central Florida.
Paulucci disclosed his plans Wednesday in a statement for delivery at a news conference Thursday at the Sweetwater Club near Orlando.
Florida Gov. Bob Graham and several hundred businessmen are expected to attend.
Jeno's Inc., a leading packer of frozen pizzas and Italian foods with annual sales of $200 million, is moving its headquarters to Casselberry, Fla., the company statement said. The St. Paul Pioneer Press said a Florida official estimated the move will involve about 375 jobs.
Paulucci Enterprises, which manages a number of Paulucci family ventures, including a $500 million Heathrow planned community development near Lake Mary in Seminole County, Fla., is moving from Duluth to Sanford, Fla.
JFP Associates, a Paulucci-owned advertising and public relations agency with offices in Duluth, will add offices in the Orlando area and look for 'acquisition candidates' in that area.
Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich said he talked Wednesday with Paulucci and was disappointed about the move, but he said: 'I think in Jeno's situation, it was the right move.'
Paulucci was born in a shack at Hibbing on the Iron Range of northern Minnesota, grew up in the Iron Range and Duluth area and began building his business in the Duluth area.
Perpich said Paulucci's close ties with Duluth began to break down after the businessman moved his frozen pizza operation from Duluth to ONEo last year to save transportation costs.
Jeno's Inc. closed its frozen food plant in Duluth, which employed 800 people, and opened a plant in Wellsy n, ONEo, which now produces about 1 million frozen pizzas a day. A licensing exchange could introduce Jeno's pizzas and snacks to Italy and Europe.