Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Attracting Business to Fayetteville

“Whatever environment we can provide to make your lives easier, that’s what we’re here for,” Mayor Dan Coody told Jeff Schomburger, president of the Global Wal-Mart Team for Procter & Gamble, during a discussion of bikes and trails during the tour of the corporation's new Fayetteville facility. Nearly 250 P & G employees work in the Fayetteville office, and the company has been moving toward environmental sustainability in its packaging and products since it came to Fayetteville in 1988. It is precisely the type of business that Fayetteville should welcome and encourage.

Schomburger shared some wisdom that should be instructive for those interested in economic development. He said the company's decision to locate and remain in Fayetteville was driven by several key factors. “I think schools are very good now; health care is very good. Our kids are in the school system here,” Schomburger said. “Secondly, the type of profile we tend to recruit wants to be close to Dickson Street, wants to be close to the university.” Good reasons all.

It should be clear to the Chamber of Cowbirds what was
not said, that Procter & Gamble and its 250 employees were not attracted by large commercial billboards, sprawling suburban developments, strip malls, suicide lanes, cheap labor, business back-slapping and glad-handing, taxpayer subsidies, or other forms of corporate welfare. They were attracted by good schools, health care facilities, a funky Dickson Street environment, the University of Arkansas, and a community with parks and trails. That's what works for recruiting the kinds of corporate citizens we want in our community.

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