There’s good news on business front

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2003

If you weren’t paying attention in recent days you might have missed some good news on the business front.

Selma has scored a small but impressive string of economic victories in the past several weeks.

First came the announcement by American Gum Co. that it planned to locate a new manufacturing plant here. The Ypsilanti, Mich.-based company has purchased 22 acres and plans to renovate a 36,000 square foot facility in South Dallas Industrial Park. Initially the plant will employ 150 people, but that could expand to 350 if all goes well.

The company has been negotiating with the city for an entire year. That’s a major win for the members of Team Selma and everyone who played a part in helping to make that move a reality.

It’s especially fitting that the company will be able to employ many of the workers who lost their jobs when American Candy shut down last year. Many of those workers had been facing the end of their unemployment benefits when the announcement came.

On the heels of that announcement came news that American Apparel Inc. landed a major new contract to make the new uniform for the U.S. Coast Guard. The $15 million contract is expected to mean an additional 20 jobs for the apparel maker. While the new jobs are welcome, perhaps the most reassuring aspect of the new contract is its validation of the work being done at American Apparel.

The company is the largest single manufacturer of uniforms for the men and women in our nation’s Armed Forces. The new contract confirms that the company is turning out quality work and building a solid reputation with its chief consumers. That’s a direct reflection on Selma’s workforce. Employers who are looking for a quality workforce should give Selma a close look.

The last piece of good news is the opening of the Hampton Inn on U.S. Highway 80 West. Again, the number of employees involved is relatively small &045;&045; only about 16. But what is significant is that a major U.S. hotel chain saw fit to locate one of its facilities here in Selma.

The Hampton company caters primarily to business travelers. The company looked at the number of major nearby employers and determined that Selma was in need of a hotel that catered to the clients that would be doing business with those employers. (Already the inn has booked five consultants that will be doing business with Vaughan Regional Medical Center for the next six months.) That speaks well of the business climate here, now and in the future.

And taken together, these three items of business news should give us all cause for renewed optimism.