“It will be important for us to look at this as an opportunity and how we move forward as a community and continue on.” –City Manager David Dillner
By TIM HORAN
It did not come as a shock to most city and county leaders when ALCO Stores, Inc., announced today that the company corporate headquarters is moving to Dallas.
“This has been going on for months now,” said former Chief Executive Officer and shareholder Bruce Dale. “Shareholders have been concerned about it. I have been concerned about it. It first came up last summer.
“Their reasoning was that they could not find good people to come to Abilene,” Dale said contradicting the statement by current CEO Rich Wilson in a press release which stated “the decision does not reflect on the town of Abilene.”
“At that point I told them they should have told Sam Walton that when he decided to move the company (Walmart) to Bentonville, Ark., several years ago,” Dale said.
Former Mayor and City Commissioner
Dennis Weishaar said local officials tried to work with the company “to no avail.”
“Obviously it is going to be a blow to the City of Abilene and Dickinson County, especially the employees of Duckwall/ALCO that probably won’t move,” Weishaar said. “I know David (Dillner) has been diligently trying to work with them to find solutions to some of the problems that they have had by offering assistance at the state and local levels.”
City Manager David Dillner said what the city and Dickinson County officials did first was to attempt to open a dialogue with the company.
“What could we at the local level do to facilitate their decision to stay in Abilene?” Dillner said. “The other thing we attempted to do to plan, if they decided to relocate, was a contingency plan for the employees that may not have employment after that. That was one of the things we attempted to coordinate but we weren’t able to get cooperation on either front.
“It is obviously not good news for the community as a whole but I think the important thing for the community to consider is that usually when one door closes, one door opens,” he added. “I think it will be important for us to look at this as an opportunity and how we move forward as a community and continue on.”
Dale went to call the decision to move “ridiculous,” and “short sighted.”
“(Former CEO) Glen Shank and I were talking the other day, We both think that they have had a failed business plan and they think it is going to be the salvation of the company,” Dale said. “Both of us think it is a bad deal. It was founded 112 years ago and that it needs to move to Dallas?
“Their whole effort is to serve small town America, what’s a better place for a company that serves small town America but a small town,” he added. “It is certainly bad for the town, I think it is bad for the company. They are going to end up losing a bunch of talented people that really run that place. I think it is bad for the company and bad for us.”
“This is a corporate decision based on information that they have and we don’t,” Weishaar said. “There is not much that we can do but be sad that they have made that decision. On a personal level I think the decision is based on some flawed thinking. It’s their call to make and we have to live with it.”