Trouble in Paradise
Kristin Perry wrote to us in December, praising the quality of life in her company's hometown, Bowling Green, Mo. (Missouri Loves Company [ [Article link]]). The only thing the town lacks, she said, is more businesses to provide job opportunities for young residents. How could she convince other companies to move there? A reader from East Falmouth, Mass. -- a town that once had the same problem -- offered this tart reply.
I live on Cape Cod, and if I didn't know better I'd think Ms. Perry's letter was a joke! If she succeeds in getting more companies to move to Bowling Green, she'll no longer have enthusiastic and loyal employees. Land prices will skyrocket, as will taxes and construction costs. The schools will deteriorate and she won't know her neighbors. The hunting and fishing she writes of will vanish. She'll find herself waiting in traffic jams on the highway.
The proper approach is to kick the kids out of the nest, tell them never to admit where they came from, and to make sure, if they return, that no one follows them back.
Richard S. Blake
East Falmouth, Mass.* * *
Yes, Ms. Perry will need more businesses in town to keep workers' families employed. If the town's economy doesn't grow as fast as its population, those children will have to leave or face unemployment. The same problem currently confronts urban areas all across the globe. Tax-increment financing and other business incentives are very popular these days, but in 5 or 10 years, will the company you attracted still be a major employer? Instead of importing businesses, why not encourage people to start their own?
University of Illinois
Casey Gilling's outdoor food-service business in Kansas City shuts down over the winter. Come spring, he finds many of his workers have taken other jobs (Keeping Busy [ [Article link]]). He wrote to us in December looking for a way to offer year-round employment.
Mr. Gilling might be able to hook up with a large retail operation somewhere in Kansas City. Stores are gearing up for Christmas and need help about when he's ready to turn his employees loose. They could probably use the employees through inventory time in the spring.
Project Training Coordinator
Brown & Root USA Inc.
Richmond, Va.* * *
Mr. Gilling should either enter into an agreement with a temporary employment service or set up a service of his own for his employees. Since his time is free then, too, Mr. Gilling could handle marketing and interview clients and employers, especially over the Christmas holidays, when a lot of temporary help is needed. He could pay his people through the winter while making money from the clients. I'm familiar with Kansas City, and I don't think it should be difficult to undercut any competition there.