Outlasting Outsourcing - Part II

By: Lori Mitchell
By: Lori Mitchell

Adairville, Kentucky is a community of 900 with a downtown square that has all the usual landmarks, a bank, a library and a park.

"We want to make the park more user friendly, so people will want to come and enjoy." Residents here treasure tradition, family and an unrushed way of life. "We have a wonderful school here. It's one of the best in the state, well, we think it is one of the best."

But it's a small town with a big story to share. One that involves hardship and loss. In the past, residents here relied on two major factories to keep them afloat, Odom's Tennessee Pride and the Adairville Hosiery Mill. But in 1994, around 150 workers got bad news about their futures when the sausage factory announced it was shutting its doors.

"Oh, it was terrible, payroll taxes and the fact that people were out of jobs."

10 years later, Adairville Chamber of Commerce president Donna Blake says the community took an even harder hit when the Hosiery Mill, Adairville's largest employer, closed down too.

"A lot of people at the Hosiery Mill had husband and wife working there so they had to go out and find other jobs which was devastating.

Easy answers? Not here. The citizens of Adairville are facing the fight of their lives and they have plenty of company.

"It's been tough, but we're surviving."

When Butler County Judge Executive Hugh Evans got the news that Butler County would lose its largest employer, Sumitomo, to Mexico, he worried how 800 people would feed their families.

"It's been devastating for a lot of people. A lot of families."

The closing also meant the county's general fund would shrink by nearly $300,000 due to a loss in occupational tax.

"I just don't know how long we can continue sending jobs overseas and it's not going to affect us. It's got to eventually. I know they say the economy is good, but it's not too good in this area."

Morgantown and Adairville are trying to recover though, and are optimistic about the generations to come. City leaders are working to recruit new industry and map out the town's economic futures.
But the notion new companies will make up for the loss of payroll could take more time than city and county leaders had hoped.

"It's hard when you've got 120 counties in the state of Kentucky. You're competing against those 120 counties, plus the entire U.S."


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