Rarely are economic development stories as simple to write as an expansion of an ice cream plant in the summer.
It gets better. The Unilever plant in Covington is in what used to be a SlimFast plant.
“They were fine people. But I just couldn’t get excited about that,” Tipton County Executive Jeff Huffman said of the SlimFast operation as he segued into the sight of the Klondike Bar machine in the Unilever plant. “You’re in my wheelhouse now.”
Any announcement like this in the summer, come with some apprehension among the group of political leaders and their surrogates who will attend.
They immediately begin preparing for the worst case scenario – a ceremony with at least half a dozen speeches on an open stage in an open field already well baked to remove any memory of any tree that ever offered shade.
A close second is the swamp like atmosphere of a tent – always the best personification of the nature of compromise as defined in politics.
It is the concession to the heat that also acknowledges the heat while magnifying the very results one began the process trying to avoid – a win-win situation.
So Huffman wasn’t the only giddy soul in a suit this week at Unilever when he saw the black carpet pathway leading into the factory.
We’ve targeted before on this blog the cumbersome and archaic political customs that endure 13 years into the 21st century in our local political culture. And these are not customs that are taken lightly if someone on the program leaves off the name of one elected official present who punched a “yes” button instead of a “no” button to vote for the economic development equivalent of being for education and against crime.
But we’ll give it a rest today. After all, it’s not just ice cream. It is what will be the largest ice cream factory in the world in about three years.