Cooperation yields even more positive results

Published 10:54 am Saturday, August 10, 2013

When the editorial department of a newspaper decides that the approach of the next day’s commentary will be to commend an individual or a group of individuals for a job well done, we call it an “attaboy.” In recent months we’ve given a number of them to local officials and economic developers for their dogged pursuit of economic investment in our community. Based on the successes they have had of late, all have been well deserved.

We’re thrilled to publish another one today.

The addition of Hampton Farms’ new peanut butter processing plant, for many reasons, is great news for the agriculturally driven economy of Southampton County. The fact that they purchased from International Paper a facility that has sat dormant for years makes the news even better. That it is in a revenue-sharing zone with the City of Franklin is icing on the cake.

What’s most important to point out about this development deal, beyond the jobs and capital investment it will create, is the reason why it was able to come to fruition. Much like the Love’s Truck Stop, AMAC asphalt plant and Enviva wood pellet facility, this came about because of cooperation between our local officials and economic development team.

Even as recently as two years ago, relations between Franklin-Southampton Economic Development, Inc. and the governing bodies of Franklin and Southampton were somewhat strained. But in a very short period of time that has changed, and we are now benefitting from the shift in attitude. FSEDI’s president and chief executive officer Amanda Jarratt, as well as its board of directors led by president Warren Beale, have done a brilliant job of bringing all stakeholders to the table and fostering a new spirit of cooperation. The result has been new jobs, significant investment and a diversification of the region’s once monolithic economy.

Based upon the efforts of those involved, expect to see many more “attaboys” in the near future. We look forward to writing them.