Thanks to columnist Bill Virgin for his excellent piece on public companies abandoning Tacoma (column, 7-31).
More than public companies, it is the loss of headquarters that hurts. When a headquarters firm is acquired by out of town interests, our economy suffers. Acquisition of Russell Investments by Northwestern Mutual is the most recent example, but there are many others.
To bring it really into focus, does anyone really think Tacoma is better off with The News Tribune being owned by McClatchy Newspapers of Sacramento? McClatchy is a fine company, but the loss of the old Tribune Publishing Co. headquarters activities means that purchasing of headquarters services, including insurance, public accounting, ad agency work, catering and a host of other economic activity left Tacoma.
Sadly, in the rare cases where economic development forces attract a branch of a firm to locate here, it’s just not the same as having a headquarters. The prime economic goal in the area, to my mind, should be to create an environment that attracts the kinds of people who create headquarters and to retain the few that are still here.
I think George Russell created his firm here because he and his dear wife Jane loved where they lived.