A yes vote Tuesday will create good jobs
For almost 60 years I have had the good fortune of having my business headquartered here in the Mahoning Valley. My company started back then, owning and operating McDonald’s restaurants. Then in the late 1990s, our company changed and began opening Panera Bread restaurants. Since that time we have grown to be the largest franchisee of Panera Bread restaurants in the country. In the years that have followed, we have also opened multiple O’Charley’s and Dairy Queen locations in the Valley and beyond, and currently employ over 3,000 people locally and 30,000 nationwide.
As my company has changed through the years, so have many things around our Valley. We are no longer an area dependent solely on manufacturing. Due to the hard work and cooperation of business and government, the economy of this Valley has been able to diversify and grow. In just the past three years, companies from a variety of industries have invested nearly $1.5 billion in our area. We have created over 3,000 new jobs and retained 10,000 more. The Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber also currently manages another $2 billion worth of pending investment by company’s looking to potentially relocate here.
One of these pending investments is HomeGoods. HomeGoods wants to build a distribution center in Lordstown. However, for that to happen, Lordstown voters on Tuesday must approve a rezoning of the property where the center will be built. If approved, HomeGoods will bring over 1,000 new jobs to the area in the next few years. This does not count the hundreds of construction jobs associated with this investment, the opportunity for expansion for local companies that could provide ongoing services to HomeGoods and the millions of dollars it will drive into our local economy year after year. As important, it will send a positive message to other companies looking to expand or relocate, saying that the Valley is a place where we will work with you to ensure your company thrives in our community.
I have always said that without the people of this Valley, my company would not be the success it is today. Your loyalty and dedication has inspired me to ensure that no matter how large my company grows, our headquarters always will remain here. I know the leadership of HomeGoods, if successful, will feel the same loyalty and dedication.
I urge the residents of Lordstown to vote “yes” on Tuesday so our area can continue to create good jobs for our residents, better quality of life for our citizens and continued momentum in the resurgence of the Mahoning Valley.