Editorial: Fingers unfairly pointed after announcement

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2018

When news broke last week that Albert Lea’s Bridon Cordage plans to close in September, the finger-pointing started almost instantaneously.

The ag baler twine production company announced the closure of the plant would result in the loss of about 90 jobs after its parent company, Great Lakes Polymer Technologies, sold to out-of-state Tama Group. Tama Group plans to consolidate twine production to its Jerome, Idaho, plant.

Bridon Cordage has been in the community for decades with many longtime employees, and its closure will not only be a loss for its employees who have to look for new jobs but for the entire city as a whole.

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In situations like this, people often want someone to blame, but in this case, it doesn’t appear there is anything officials with the city or Albert Lea Economic Development Authority could have done to make this outcome any different.

Great Lakes Polymer Director of Operations Kevin Miland said it has been a difficult and competitive industry, as the company has had to compete with companies all over the world.

It was a similar story when The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., owner of Herberger’s in Albert Lea, announced in April it would close all of its stores nationwide as part of a liquidation of the company’s assets. Though the Albert Lea store had strong sales, the parent company — which operated 250 stores — had filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and had a court-supervised financial restructuring, which ultimately included closure of its stores.

At the time the Herberger’s closure was announced, people questioned what did Albert Lea do to cause the store to close? This week, people are asking what did Albert Lea do to cause this production company to close? The answer then and the answer now is, “Nothing.”

Albert Lea has a lot to offer, but in both of these cases, there was nothing that could be done.

We wish those who are putting down our community and pointing fingers unfairly at others who were not involved in these decisions to instead put their energy into promoting the community to others looking in and buoying it up from within.

As we’ve said many times before, if there’s something you don’t like about the community, you should instead do something about it, and be a part of positive change.