When I heard that Amazon was looking for a distribution center outside of their first one in Seattle, I thought of Memphis.
I heard business analysts suggest New Jersey, New York state and Atlanta. None of them mentioned Memphis.
They should have. We’re known for Fed Ex, which does a lot of business with Amazon. We’re known as a distribution center, too. We also have no state income tax and a state hierarchy that would gratefully work to give breaks to Amazon.
The next day I got an email from Mayor Strickland. He wrote:
News came Thursday morning that Amazon is looking to build a second headquarters that could employ tens of thousands and transform a city’s future. I was emailing our staff shortly after dawn, letting them know that we’ll absolutely be placing a bid.
Some of our great successes recently, such as the retention and Downtown move of ServiceMaster, coupled with stalwart corporate citizens like FedEx, AutoZone, International Paper and First Tennessee, prove to me that we have momentum. Let’s take the next step and give it our best shot.
I hope he’s giving it his best shot, but I am not reassured that he is. He led his weekly email newsletter talking about the Southern Heritage Classic. I agree that it’s important, but top of the list?
One would hope that Strickland hopped on a plane and went to Seattle to highlight the advantages of building in Memphis. Maybe get the governor to go, too, and Fred Smith. Be innovative. Work the deal.
Strickland really hasn’t done much since he became mayor. Crime is as bad as it ever was. Taxes go up, not down. We’re still hung with a high property tax rate. Is there really any difference between him and Wharton? So far, no.