Just when you think it couldn’t get worse for Henry County, Stanley Furniture announces plans to eliminate 500+ jobs.
It all started today as I was getting ready to head to our Reidsville studios when I got a call saying we had “Breaking News in Martinsville”, so I’m needed in our Martinsville studios. Our sources had already told us what was going to happen so we were just waiting for the official announcement. By now, you probably know what happened. Today was another tough day in the media business…
- Star News’ Bob Sharp was outside the Stanley Furniture plant in the Stanleytown area. The employees were in a meeting with the CEO of the company and were getting the bad news. Bob interviewed some of the employees as they drove out and I was totally surprised at the employees’ attitudes. There were a few that had tears in their eyes as they contemplated their futures, but the majority of the attitudes were a surreal form of acceptance. We talked about that in the studio.
- Unlike the American of Martinsville plant closing, the management of Stanley Furniture gave the employees over four months notice before their jobs will be lost. I’m guessing that factored in to the “acceptance” attitude.
- Once we got the official word from Stanley Furniture, the enormity of the job losses hit home. Henry County simply can’t take any more job losses of this scale, or any scale for that matter.
- We broadcast over 5 hours of continuous coverage on this and heard from lots of viewers. There was a sense of defeat in almost everybody’s voice whether or not they were personally affected by the Stanley Furniture news.
- As a libertarian at heart, I never want to think that the government is obligated to help in any way… businesses should prosper or fail on their own merits. Today, I have a large exception to that theory. Henry County is dangerously close to falling apart. Local, state and federal government must get involved quickly to attract industries to Henry County, and those industries must locate quickly. They’re out there somewhere and it’s time to devote every resource to reach that goal.
Sometimes, people think that we enjoy reporting stories like this. We don’t. We’re human and we hurt along with everyone else when news like this happens… but it is news, and we’ve got a responsibility to make sure everybody knows all of the facts in stories like this. We did a good job today doing just that.
But that doesn’t make days like this any easier.