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OUR VIEW: Continue attracting business to Mitchell

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opinion Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

It's disappointing to see Verifications Inc. close its doors, take its jobs abroad and leave 79 employees jobless. Terribly disappointing.

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The human-resources services company announced late last week that it is closing its Mitchell facility before the end of this year and moving those jobs to sites in Arizona, India and the Philippines. The company also is closing its Aberdeen site, but the Watertown location will remain open.

We feel for those people whose lives have been negatively affected by this unfortunate news. And we regret that it happens during what seems to be a rebounding economy.

Was it worth it for the Mitchell Area Development Corp. to recruit Verifications to the city? That was the question raised earlier this week, and we feel it's a good one.

We also feel the answer is "yes," even though the company's departure leaves a void in the city's economic and employment landscape. The MADC owns the 18,400-square-foot building, which was constructed in 2005 with the aid of $1.5 million in loans, including $500,000 from the city and $700,000 from the state Revolving Economic Development and Initiative Fund. Verifications was paying $152,000 to the MADC in rent and will continue to do so until 2018, due to the requirements of its lease.

It's always tough when a company that's recruited to a city pulls up stakes and leaves. Sour tastes and bad feelings tend to linger, not only among the affected employees but also, to an extent, among those who worked so hard to bring the company here in the first place.

But business recruitment is a gamble, and just like in boxing and horses, there is no sure thing. Mayor Lou Sebert told The Daily Republic this week that "a good businessperson does not dwell on failures. They dwell on successes."

We agree with that.

Meanwhile, we hope for the best for the employees who suddenly are without jobs and also hope that building doesn't stay vacant for long.

We also recognize the need to continue our efforts to grow Mitchell from within, by providing assistance to entrepreneurs and companies that have real ties to the community and won't pull up stakes when the hard times hit.

Yet, that doesn't mean we should stop recruiting companies from outside Mitchell. We can only try to learn some lessons from Mitchell's brief partnership with Verifications and try to do better next time.

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