Electrolux asked to reconsider

The Swedish word for reconsider is ompröva.

Troy Post, the director of the Development Authority of Columbia County, made that statement to Electrolux last week on the heals of the news that Augusta wasn’t in the consideration for its new North American headquarters. (Though I don’t think he said it in Swedish.)

He said the local executives who are awaiting word as to which city will be host to their new offices were cordial, but their hands were tied. These decisions are being made in Stockholm, the global headquarters.

While it is heartening that some of Electrolux is staying (the 215-person customer service center), it is disheartening that this community isn’t even in the running for the new headquarters when it has been the headquarters for more than 20 years.

The company indicated that this is not a reflection on Augusta, Mr. Post said.

“It is an issue of consolidation that we’re seeing a lot of companies going through,” Mr. Post said. “This is what businesses do, especially businesses that had acquisitions over the years and took on branches.”

The new headquarters will have the staff from Augusta, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Nashville and Columbus, Ohio. There’ll be 750 people in the new building.

Because the company is leaving its customer service center here in Augusta, it will still have a presence for the Sage Valley junior golf tournament that it is sponsoring, so at least some of the outside effects of losing a nameplate company won’t happen – all of its money isn’t leaving with it.

What Augusta is losing is 315 executive/management jobs. Those are the kinds of jobs that have community developers salivating. There’s even an industry term for them: high value added jobs. Six-figure salaries don’t grow on trees.

“You want companies that have those kinds of positions. We’ll re-double our efforts to find like firms,” Mr. Post said.

Glad to see there was at least an effort made to get Electrolux to reconsider moving the headquarters out of Augusta, technically Martinez.

The official word isn’t expected until next month. The conversations among the business community has Electrolux’s sales office north of Charlotte as the likely pick for the new HQ.

That’s where Husqvrna is going. The Electrolux spinoff company has been slowing moving its headquarters out of Augusta for Charlotte since August.

NOT SO SWEET COOKIES: The Swedes aren’t the only ones causing tears in Augusta. The Kellogg’s plant has baked up a combination of grow then shrink.

The bakery got some new products and was able to boost its employment by 220 people – though technically they work for a staffing firm that’s been given the outsourcing mission.

On the same day that the financing for that expansion was approved, the company laid off an undisclosed number of people, although some of them aren’t leaving until January.

The tipster employee who provided the information to me estimates more than 50, but less than 100 employees were laid off. The official sources won’t comment on how many people were let go.

There’s still a net gain of jobs out there this year: rising from 500 to 700, and then minus the “undisclosed” folks.

And there is an inference of more jobs to come if the other initiatives that are supposed to use the remaining $20 million in bond financing comes to fruition in 2010.

For those of you who are confused about bond financing: Richmond County didn’t give Kellogg’s $30 million. The company got industrial revenue bonds, borrowed money that it pays back, which has to be done through a government agency like the development authority in order to qualify for better interest rates and tax breaks. As a matter of fact, Keebler, a division of Kellogg’s, is buying the bonds.

INDIAN TRUCKS: The Gerald Jones family of dealerships in Martinez is waiting for the U.S. government to get done testing the Indian pickup trucks before it can start selling them, becoming one of the first – if not the first – in the nation to offer Mahindra & Mahindra trucks.

Testing should be done and vehicles arriving in February, says the dealer’s marketing company.

Work continues on the showroom on Washington Road which once belonged to Isuzu.
A company in Atlanta has the contract to import the Mahindra diesel trucks and distribute them to American dealers.

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Notreally 11/25/09 - 03:27 pm
I wonder do any of their

I wonder do any of their executives read these daily racist blogs and see pay any attention to the commissioners?  That may very well have done Augusta in.  The Chronicle may be at fault in a way for them leaving.

Tim Rausch
Tim Rausch 11/25/09 - 04:17 pm
You are insinuating that

You are insinuating that leaders in Sweden are moved by discussions on local politics on another continent and not dollars and cents? First of all, the local Electrolux office is in Columbia County, so Richmond County commissioner politics doesn't affect them. Secondly, it has been my experience that executives don't base important multi-million dollar decisions on opinion posts on blogs or web sites.

walrus4ever 11/25/09 - 04:28 pm
Hmmm  an Indian pickup

Hmmm  an Indian pickup truck? Ill park it next to the rust stain that was my Yugo

eachoneteachone 11/25/09 - 08:30 pm
There are many other places

There are many other places that are more advantageous than August to have an industry.

Taylor B
Taylor B 11/25/09 - 10:42 pm
Ear, this town should have

Ear, this town should have way more industry than we do. We have cheap, available secondary education, low cost of living (meaning low cost of employees), plenty of industrial real estate, railroad and interstate access, and a hungry, productive workforce. Tax cuts and incentives, like Carbon Motors and Boeing just received could bring more jobs in the area. Why did Chattanooga get a new VW plant? Why didn't Kia build here? We need to figure this out. There is no excuse for one out of ten Augustans to be out of work, with more to follow. Tim, what do we have to do to get some of these companies here? PS - as a future Mahindra technician (I work for the Jones Autogroup as a tech) I'm excited about this new opportunity we have. I just hope I don't have to sink a bunch of money into new tools!

thewiz0oz 11/27/09 - 04:53 am
Greater Augusta, including

Greater Augusta, including Richmond, Columbia, Aiken, Burke, McDuffie, Edgefield and the others in the CSRA hasn't yet learned the concept of critical mass & leveraging. This trade area is superior to most in the U.S.A. but many who reside here doesn't realize that. Quality of life, recreational venues, the arts, medical and educational assets here are outstanding. Can we do better? Of course we can.  But our basic problem is marketing what we have in a unified positive way. It is unfortunate but one of the most popular sports in he C.S.R.A. is to beat up on Augusta because of the leadership and public education void that exists due primarily to a political system that puts race ahead of competence. While this is a major challenge to a progressive community it is a problem for the entire trade area and not just Augusta --- and it is not an impossible obstacle to overcome. This criticism comes from those inside Augusta but is voiced regularly and loudly from those living in Aiken & Columbia counties who regularly and publicly denounce Augusta for its shortfalls. However, the C.S.R.A. will continue to lose corporate citizens and opportunities to attract others if we don't address challenges in a uniform way. We need community leaders who can cross racial, political and geographical lines to unite for a common goal. We are all in the same boat -- if the City of Augusta's end start to sink the other end will soon follow.


imdstuf 11/30/09 - 02:15 pm
We have a bunch of call

We have a bunch of call centers and we only have them because people are willing to work so cheap here.

 Oh, and Electrolux has not had headquarters here for over 20 years.  

imdstuf 11/30/09 - 02:16 pm
I do not think it is

I do not think it is politics either that is mainly behind them leaving.  Lets face it, Augusta is not a big city, and corporations are usually in big cities, because they have major airports, etc.   We do not have such infastructure.

blues550 12/02/09 - 01:33 am
Look at the different

Look at the different development aujthorities in this area that fight over table scraps.  Acombined effort would be so much more effective, but then too many sand castles would crumble.  We have to begin to look at the big picture to prosper and grow.

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