I’ve officially been handed the reins of the editorial page at the Specturm & Daily News so I’ll be writing the opinions of the editorial board a little more often. I’m posting them on my blog as a way of archiving some of the pieces of which I’m most fond because they don’t live forever on thespectrum.com… This one was published on Wednesday, Sep. 3, 2014.
St. George received a bit of bad news from the labor market front on Tuesday when Blue Bunny confirmed they will be closing their St. George plant.
Anytime a business announces a plant closure in Southern Utah — and there have been more than a few over the past few years — you have to pause for a moment and feel a bit of sympathy for the people whose lives will be impacted by lost jobs and lost incomes.
Some hurt more than others. We’ve had larger closures than Blue Bunny’s. We saw 350 people lose their jobs in Cedar City when O’Sullivan closed their plant there in 2000, and about 220 people lost jobs when Viracon closed its doors in St. George in early 2013, but honestly, the numbers don’t matter if it’s your job leaving town.
The next few months will bring plenty of challenges to the Blue Bunny employees whose jobs just vanished.
They’ll be refreshing resumes and pounding the pavement looking for work.
We sympathize with those who are now or will soon be out of a job. We hope their searches for employment will be short and that they’ll land even better jobs than the ones they lost with Blue Bunny.
But it’s part of the American model of capitalism that’s responsible for events such as these. Capitalism dictates that struggling businesses will close up shop, but hopefully, stronger, more vibrant businesses will quickly step in to fill the voids left behind.
We’ve got a fairly diversified local manufacturing economy, and our local and state representatives are continually doing their best to bring more and more manufacturing jobs to the state and to the area.
Losing the Blue Bunny plant will hurt, but gaining Family Dollar, SyberJet, the Industrial Brush Corporation and Litehouse Foods in the past few years are just a few examples of the kinds of successes that our local representatives can brag about when it comes to luring manufacturing and light industrial jobs to Southern Utah.
We have a great location for light manufacturing. We have a state government that’s extremely business-friendly and we have a fairly well-educated work force, so there’s no reason to think we can’t find a bigger and better replacement for Blue Bunny.
Blue Bunny has been a model business in our community for the past decade. It’s provided ice cream at more than a few city sponsored events, including the St. George Marathon, and there will be more than a few runners saddened to see that there won’t be an ice-cold Bomb Pop waiting for them at the finish line anymore. And that doesn’t take into account the many private charitable events in which Blue Bunny took part.
Blue Bunny will be missed, but there are other business opportunities out there. It will be difficult, but we can and we will eventually do better.