Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Moribund Montgomery iced out of ICEE HQ decision by Tennessee

Montgomery County has again been on the sidelines as dozens of major corporate headquarters have made relocation decisions in early 2019. Moribund MoCo, now at rock bottom in the D.C. region in virtually every economic development indicator, just got iced out of another one. While our corrupt elected officials were dozing at the switch, high-energy Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee closed a deal for the ICEE headquarters. The beloved frozen beverage firm is moving its California HQ to La Vergne, in Rutherford County Tennessee.

"It's such a business-friendly spot," ICEE President Dan Fachner said of La Vergne, according to the local Daily News Journal. The deal also includes a distribution center, and a requirement to create 207 additional jobs with an average salary of $60,152 within the coming five years. In exchange for a relatively-paltry $690,275 tax break, La Vergne, Rutherford County and Tennessee will get a $10.3 million project, and all of the tax revenue and collateral economic benefits.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R)
"ICEE's decision to bring its corporate headquarters to La Vergne highlights how Tennessee's low taxes, skilled workforce and quality of life continue to attract world-class businesses, said Bob Rolfe, the commissioner of the state's Department of Economic and Community Development," the Daily News Journal reported.

Once again, transportation infrastructure also played a big role in the decision. While not mentioned in media coverage of the ICEE deal, the City of La Vergne upgraded Mason Road and its utilities near Bain Drive during the year-long ICEE HQ decision process in 2018. And what do you know? That's exactly where ICEE is going to locate its HQ and distribution center.

Contrast that show of infrastructure investment and goodwill by Tennessee to the moronic decision by the Montgomery County Council to cancel the biggest infrastructure project in White Flint on the very day that Amazon executives were touring White Flint for their HQ 2 search. Along with the enablers in our obsequious and apologist local media, it couldn't be more clear why Montgomery has lost every single major corporate headquarters contest over the last two decades.
Google Maps image shows 13-minute trip to
the closest airport from the future ICEE site
The La Vergne site also sits right off of Interstate 24, and along a major rail line. Smyrna Airport is only 13 minutes away from the future ICEE property, and the major Nashville International Airport is only 18 minutes away, according to Google Maps. Meanwhile, Montgomery County officials have actively blocked any attempt to build a new Potomac River crossing that would provide direct access to Dulles International Airport, leaving all major airports a long, congested drive for busy executives - which is one reason those executives always pass over MoCo in location decisions. In fact, Montgomery lost the Discovery HQ to Knoxville, Tennessee, where Discovery chose a site with similar direct airport and interstate access.
The brain freeze of an ICEE isn't nearly
as cold as the one you'll get from the latest
Montgomery County Council tax increase
this year
While Montgomery County's corrupt, developer-controlled Council and Planning Board were busy converting MoCo's office parks to residential housing for their developer sugar daddies, Tennessee state and local officials were readying theirs for household-name tenants and success. While states like Tennessee and Virginia add highway capacity (and high-wage jobs and corporations follow), Montgomery County politicians in Rockville and Annapolis are aggressively fighting Gov. Larry Hogan's Express Lanes plan for the Beltway and I-270.
An ICEE chill settles over Montgomery County,
now the moribund bedroom community for booming
job centers elsewhere in the D.C. region
“With our top-rated school district, affordable cost of living and strong local economy, companies like The ICEE Company are choosing to relocate and put down roots in our community,” Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron said in a statement. Contrast that with Montgomery County's rapidly-declining public schools, high cost of living and record-high taxes, and moribund local economy. It's not a winning formula, to say the least.
The clock runs out on the
Montgomery County cartel
The ICEE victory again shows how attracting one major employer has a multiplier effect. Attracting Nissan to that same part of Tennessee decades ago fueled explosive economic growth in the area. Having traveled to Nashville many, many times as a professional musician, I've been surprised at how many people I've encountered there over the years are employed by Nissan or Nissan-related businesses. Some of them live in wonderful, new suburban neighborhoods developed as a result of the Nissan facilities. 520 new Nissan-related auto parts manufacturing jobs have been added in Smyrna in the last year alone, the Daily News Journal reported. Nashville also recently became home to the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr,. another corporate HQ that MoCo didn't even compete for.

We won't attract that first breakthrough corporate headquarters with the super-low-energy, Berzerkley-inspired, anti-business "new" County Council that took office just over three months ago. They haven't acted on a single one of the major crises Montgomery County faces in the many weeks since. Their press release output in recent weeks features no Bill Lee-style announcements of new high-wage jobs, but instead highlights an "Islamophobia" resolution, an outdoor patio smoking ban, and a "Racial Equity and Social Justice Policy."

Res ipsa loquitur, indeed.


  1. What do you hope to accomplish by all these blog posts? We all get it already. Montgomery County is 'moribund'. The DEEP STATE County Council stole the election. Hans is evil. Enough all ready.

  2. ROTFLMAO! Today's comic strip, April Fool's Day everyday Goth Dyer breaths. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITHYOU??? You pissing all over yourself over some one horse biz that decided to get out of the fire of high-end biz, and shuffle on off to backwoods TN. Please go get a job their, leave to confines of mommies basement, and to cozy world of sucking up to trumpisms. It and you have jumped the shark.

  3. Southeast Tennessee is a great place to live if you're a rich straight white Republican businessman. If you're anything otherwise it can be an extremely unpleasant place to be, even to visit. TN GOP slobber all over corporations, but most of the people who end up working for those companies at pittance salaries are not so giddy. Add on the fact that most of the state's internet infrastructure is barely beyond the level of AOL dial-up, while the politicians work extremely hard to prevent anything other than Xfinity control over everything, and it's a dull place to be.

  4. Do you realize what a fool you are making yourself look like? This tiny firm has to locate where shipping and market logistics are better, and where the cost of living is much lower, giving the company better profits for the labor source. They would not locate here (permanently) or anywhere close to beltway counties for these reasons. Grow the fuck up, and act like you know something, instead of constantly bitching like a spoiled brat.

    1. 12:24: You're admitting that the Montgomery County Council not completing our master plan highway system has created a logistics and transportation disadvantage.

      That's a start!

      And we're being overtaxed here, while Tennessee has a much lower cost of living.

      So ICEE didn't locate here because we have high taxes and poor highway and airport infrastructure.

      Given that you agree with my premise, I guess the big question is, why are you arguing with me? LOL

  5. Mr. Dyer: a significant body of research shows that smoke-free air laws do not hurt (and, indeed, can help) the bottom lines of restaurants and bars. That was the case in MoCo in 2003, when restaurant tax revenue increased by seven percent six months after the indoor smoke-free air law took effect compared to the same six-month period in the prior year. It's also easier for employees to come to work when they are protected from exposure to secondhand smoke. That law, in other words, is very much a pro-business piece of legislation.

    1. Adam, I do not disagree with what you are saying. My point was primarily to illustrate that the Council has not acted on any of the major economic development issues identified during the 2018 election - that these are not on the agenda, nor are they even being discussed.