The City Council held its long awaited work session on economic development Tuesday, Oct. 6.
The presentation began with a definition of economic development.
There was the statement that building affordable housing, something the City Council discusses constantly, was a form of economic development.
The companies that were highlighted for “The Economic Development Landscape (2020)” were Hop and Nuts, Syngenta, The Fresh Market, PACTIV, Sunlight USA, UPS, Sonder Mind and Body and Piggly Wiggly.
Sunlight Batteries, USA, a subsidiary of a Greek corporation, announced it will open its first US manufacturing plant in Greensboro and employ up to 46.
Hop and Nuts, a company that was started in 2014, sells nuts and snacks designed to compliment craft beers and wine. Sonder Mind and Body is a spa and cafe on South Elm Street. Piggly Wiggly is a grocery store. Fresh Market in 2019 and Syngenta in 2020 received economic incentives to stay in Greensboro.
UPS received an economic incentive to expand its distribution center and add 141 jobs. Pactiv received an economic incentive in 2019 and announced in Jan. 2020 it would be expanding and adding 25 jobs.
These are, according to the presentation, the success stories as far as economic development goes in Greensboro.
Other communities in Guilford County like Whitsett recently have made economic development announcements involving hundreds of new jobs. Prepac, a Canadian furniture manufacturer, announced it was building a factory in Whitsett and Amazon is building a last mile distribution center there. Amazon already has a million square foot facility in Kernersville that will employ about 1,000, plus last mile distribution centers in Kernersville and High Point that employ between 100 and 200 people.
There was no mention in the economic development presentation of the groundbreaking this year for new Publix distribution center, which is slated to bring 1,000 jobs to east Greensboro, but Planning Director Sue Schwartz did explain the success of Hop and Nuts. Schwartz also talked about how important libraries are for economic development.
Economic Development Manager Kathi Dubel told a story about NFI Industries, located in the old K-Mart distribution center off East Wendover, is building an additional facility and adding 50 jobs.
According to the report, in 2020 the first two projects since 2016 have qualified for Urban Development Investment Grants (UDIG). Piggly Wiggly received a $750,000 grant and the Bourbon Bowl, an upscale bowling alley on South Elm Street, received $80,000.
Why is it that Fresh Market and Piggly Wiggly got incentives, and other grocers did not?
Corporate welfare (bribes) at it’s finest.