#115. It’s Not Just the Money – Why Toyota Choose Blue Springs, MS

Posted on | The Agurban
It’s Not Just the Money – Why Toyota Choose Blue Springs, MS

By now you have heard that Toyota will build a $1.3 billion manufacturing plant on a 1,700-acre site in Blue Springs, MS, near Tupelo. Up to 150,000 Highlanders, Toyota’s crossover utility vehicle, will be built at the plant scheduled to open in 2010. Two thousand factory workers will be employed at a forecast $20 an hour after three years on the job, not counting benefits.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and state and local lawmakers put together an incentive package totaling $323.9 million, most of which will cover costs for infrastructure such as roads and water and sewer lines. It also includes $30 million for top-tier Toyota suppliers to locate in the area. In just 45 minutes, the state Senate voted unanimously to approve the Toyota incentive package.

But, what else besides the money drew Toyota to northern Mississippi? Toyota officials say it was because of the area’s people and how everyone worked together to bring the project to fruition. Three counties, Pontotoc, Union and Lee, banded together to promote the Blue Springs site to Toyota. In addition, the consolidation in the furniture industry, once very prominent in northern Mississippi, left an available quality work force with the education level and work ethic Toyota sought. According to Toyota Executive Vice President Ray Tanguay, “North Mississippi (is) a perfect match for the Toyota way.”

Governor Barbour praised Toyota as “the answer to prayers”. But really the people of Mississippi answered the prayers with their cooperative attitude, strong work ethic and skill level.

If a large employer comes knocking at your community’s door, will you, your residents, your local leaders, your state government officials, be able to open the door together?