According to Hester, Dyersburg was one of 15 sites being looked at after the organization started with 70 sites across eight states. Dyersburg was the only site being considered for the project in Tennessee. The company visited the area in mid-May and toured the 100-acre site in Dyersburg Industrial Park. Hester says that the city made a strong showing and impressed the group with all the improvements that had been made to the park including the funding of a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Adminis-tration to construct water towers in that area.
Although the project looked promising, the organization changed the nature and scope of the project after their visit to Dyersburg. The addition of a large distribution center to the project no longer made Dyersburg a viable candidate for two reasons: the Dyersburg Industrial Park was not large enough to accommodate the addition and the size of the labor market in the area in comparison to other large markets was a concern.
"Of course, we are all disappointed," said Hester, in a statement to the State Gazette. "But I am confident that we gave this project our very best team effort."
Hester said that the community and the chamber received high praise for likability and preparedness and the organization said it would consider Dyersburg in future projects.
Despite the disappointing setback there is cause for optimism as the latest Department of Labor figures show Dyer County posting a 10.4 percent unemployment rate as of June 2012, which is a significant decrease from the 12.2 percent posted to start January 2012.
Hester went on to comment that there are several other projects that the chamber is currently working on including two projects code-named Legends and Leaders and Incentis, which the area is a finalist for. The Project Legends and Leaders is described as a food-processing operation that will bring 300 new jobs to the community, while the Project Incentis is described as a food-distribution operation that will bring 200 new jobs to the area. The chamber expects to receive word on those prospects later on this year. In addition, Hester says that the chamber just submitted information this past week on a new project.
"The team is always busy with serious efforts to recruit, retain and grow our industrial base."