A Fortune 500 Company that Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said is also one of the nation’s largest vehicle retailers is coming to Duluth — and it’s bringing 130 jobs with it.

Kemp announced on Monday that Sonic Automotive Inc. will put a regional headquarters and dealership for EchoPark Automotive in the former Fry’s Electronics site next to Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth. EchoPark Automotive, which was launched six years ago as one of Sonic Automotive’s brands, already has nine locations that are spread out across the U.S.

“We are excited to welcome Sonic Automotive, Inc. as they locate their regional headquarters to Gwinnett County,” Kemp said in a statement. “Our readily available talent and expansive logistics network will serve Sonic Automotive well as they locate in Duluth. The quality, well-paying jobs they will create will generate new opportunities for hardworking Georgians in the region, and I am grateful for Sonic Automotive’s investment in Georgia.”

Kemp made the announcement in partnership with the Georgia of Economic Development, Partnership Gwinnett, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Power. In addition to a regional headquarters, the facility will host an EchoPark Automotive showroom and customer experience center, according to the governor’s office.

EchoPark is a pre-owned vehicle retail brand.

“EchoPark Automotive will bring a unique guest experience to residents of Gwinnett County and surrounding areas,” said David B. Smith, CEO of Sonic Automotive and EchoPark Automotive Inc. “We are thankful for the support of Governor Kemp, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Partnership Gwinnett, Georgia Power, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Our mission is more than just selling cars, and we are looking forward to becoming an integral part of the Gwinnett County community in the coming months.”

The governor’s office did not directly say the site of Fry’s Electronics, which closed late last year, would be where EchoPark would be located, but it sounded similar to proposed plans for the building.

Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District Executive Director Joe Allen later confirmed it would be located in the old Fry’s building.

“It’s got great visibility right that on I-85,” Allen said. “This is yet another regional or national headquarters coming to the Gwinnett Place area so all of that is very positive for us. We try to do that all of the time: remind people that the area is much more than just Gwinnett Place Mall. It is truly Gwinnett’s central business district, and truly the hub for headquarters relocating to Gwinnett County.

“They’re coming to Gwinnett Place.”

Smith said changes will be made to the building to accommodate EchoPark’s needs.

“Our facility development team will transform the existing building into a space that empowers guests to shop the way they want and at their desired pace,” Smith said. “Rather than tearing down the existing building, our team will bring this facility back to life.”

The Gwinnett Planning Commission recently recommended approval of a change in conditions that would add two acres onto 10 acres at the Fry’s site that is already approved for automobile sales. The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on that change its meeting on Tuesday.

County officials are excited about this week’s announcement from the governor’s office and Sonic Automotive.

“We are excited to welcome Sonic Automotive’s new regional headquarters to Gwinnett County,” Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash said in a statement. “As the first location in the state, this site will provide the company with unparalleled access to their customer base, as well as a diverse and talented workforce.”

Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Hala Moddelmog said, “We’re proud to welcome Sonic Automotive to metro Atlanta and our thriving ecosystem of diverse industries and companies. With the region’s robust supply chain, rich talent pool, and business-friendly resources, Sonic is in the right place for continued company growth.”

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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