JLF Piedmont Triad Blog

Unemployment and obesity–good for the Triad

Biz Journal analyzes the deal bringing Herbalife to Forsyth County:

An irony: the Triad’s high unemployment rate was actually an attractive feature to Herbalife executives, who wanted to be sure that the community they located in would welcome the company with open arms.

At the time the executives came to tour Winston-Salem, the Triad’s unemployment rate was in the double digits. The northeast side of Atlanta, which housed the greenfield sites Herbalife was close to closing on, had an unemployment rate of around 4 percent.

“We looked at which community needed us more,” Goudis said.

…. Goudis sees Herbalife’s trajectory as a completely different one than Dell’s — one based on the global obesity epidemic, which isn’t going away anytime soon, as compared to the uber-competitive and fast-moving computing and technical world. In fact, Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) has had the same best-selling product since it first opened its doors in 1994: meal replacement shakes.

….“As you travel the world you see that this obesity epidemic unfortunately has no signs of slowing down, so I think fundamentally that’s a different trajectory than maybe what Dell was looking at,” Goudis said. “As long as obesity is around, we’ll be around.”

Following that logic, we can only hope –for the Triad’s sake — that the problem of world obesity will never be solved, lest the factory on Temple School Road stand empty again.

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