MILLEDGEVILLE — The Milledgeville-Baldwin County Development Authority began its industry thank you month Tuesday, serving lunch to 300 Mohawk Industries employees.
“Times are tough. The fact is we have these existing industries that are doing well, we need to say thank you. Obviously, losing Shaw and Rheem was a huge detriment, but we still have these other companies here employing people,” Development Authority Executive Director Matt Poyner said.
For the next three Tuesdays, Existing Industry Appreciation Month luncheons will finish serving 2,000 total employees at the Industrial Park, Triumph Aerostructures and Blandy Corners.
Sponsors like Georgia Power, Windstream, Green Acres Health and Rehabilitation, the Milledgeville Water and Sewer Department, Tim Ingram from Ingram and Associates on behalf of the county, Century Bank & Trust and Bug House Pest Control help make the appreciation events possible. Tent-Sational Events, the Goodie Gallery and Coca-Cola jumped on board also.
Hormel contributed food donations, while Performance Food Group discounted supplies.
“It’s been great to get buy-in from the community and support to do this,” Poyner said.
City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County elected officials and staff pitched in alongside Development Authority board members Tuesday.
“It’s exciting to see. They stepped up to the plate,” Poyner said. “We need these bodies here with happy faces saying thanks for what you are doing.”
Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley said the appreciation day was a small way to show industries “we know you are here and we support you here.”
“Our existing industries are just as important as recruiting new industries. We’ve been victims of closures over the last several years. It was nothing that we didn’t do,” the mayor said. “It makes it more important to include existing industries because they will actually employ those people in many cases. We want to make sure we keep them here.”
Poyner said the Existing Industry Appreciation Month is another way to differentiate the community from competitors as far as recruitment.
Telling visiting industry heads Milledgeville and Baldwin County back their economic drivers means nothing if the vision trips short of reality.
“You can wine them and dine them, but the proof is in the pudding. If we aren’t showing them we are doing it, how do they know?” Poyner said. “This will become an annual event. We hope it grows, and we have more businesses to come in and feed.”
Bentley wants the industry supporter mantra out to the business and industry onlookers eyeing a future in the area.
“Most industries that look at us never set foot here. It goes a long way to let someone know the type of community we have,” the mayor said.
The community boasts numerous prospering industries whose success has gone somewhat unnoticed by the general public.
The Development Authority hopes August appreciation days add to the area’s recruitment resume. With new and expanding industries come small businesses looking to serve that employee population.
“It’s a whole trickle down effect off what these guys bring to the community,” Poyner said.
Next week’s appreciation day will be held at the Industrial Park off Ga. Highway 22.
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