Plant closing shouldn’t discourage

Published 12:11 am Friday, May 13, 2016


The announcement that the owners of Vidalia Apparel plan to close the Fruit of the Loom distribution center soon was disheartening.

Losing 167 jobs in the process will certainly impact both the families of those affected and, to some degree, the overall economy of our community.

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The company had operated with what appeared — at least from the outside — to be a rocky future for many years. The company had, as recently as a few years ago, made a significant reduction in its employee force, a move that nearly always signals trouble.

But rather than speculate on their business model, we must as a community roll up our sleeves and focus on two things.

First, we must help support the families that will be affected by the closure. The financial pressures such a move can cause on a person or his or her family can be substantial.

Second, we must work to improve the quality of life we offer here. Only when we become a place that people from elsewhere want to live and work can we truly begin attracting the kinds of companies that produce world-class products that are shipped elsewhere. That’s what true economic development looks like.

While it has helped supplement our economy for years, Vidalia Apparel was never going to be the game changing economic catalyst our community needs.

We must not lose focus of the need to continue fishing for a big economic catch.