A Bet On Nestle' USA
Posted: July 25, 2008
"Danny, whatever you do, you should never expect to win everything you wish for." My Great Uncle Chris, part of the Greek side of my family, used to impart that knowledge to me every third weekend for about two years when I first qualified for my driver's license. Usually, he offered his advice to me when we spent the afternoon at Arlington Park horse racing track near Chicago. I used to like to make a sizeable wager on a horse to win and would spend another $20 on exotic wagers, hoping to hit the big payday. Uncle Chris usually chastised me for the way I gambled, mostly because I rarely won money.
Now I want to make a bet on Nestle' USA. I wrote a story on this week's front page about Nestle's plan to possibly expand in Eau Claire. Although Nestle Company officials are probably not so enthused about my article, I felt compelled to write the story after I obtained the company's preliminary construction plans.
I have spoken with three business owners who are hoping to be involved with what could become the largest economic development project in the Chippewa Valley since Hutchinson Technology decided to make a long-term commitment to Eau Claire. I realize there is the chance that Nestle' may not proceed with plans for an expansion that I think could exceed an investment of more than $100 million in the near term, with the possibility that the world's largest food company may spend up to $250 million and possibly create as many as 400 jobs once the expansion is approved and completed sometime in 2010.
Of course, all of this is conjecture. Nestle' Plant Manager John Younger, who has no choice but to tell the media that the company is still just "considering" its options, is concerned that too much media coverage of a possible expansion could become a negative thing if the company does not live up to the media reports and expectations.
I realize that if the media cites a specific number of jobs that could be created or implies a specific dollar amount of financial investment for a potential expansion in Gateway West, there is the possibility that Nestle' could get a black eye if the company does not live up to its reported plans. But I think any local employer that is planning to expand is great news for the local economy.
So, regardless of the dollars invested and the number of new hires, I feel very comfortable making a wager on Nestle' to win, place and show. I can't be wrong every time, can I?
TBL welcomes comments, concerns and/or constructive criticism about this weekly editorial or anything else reported in the business publication. Feel free to e-mail: email@example.com or call me at: (715) 834-7337.