It’s a longshot, but Delaware still dreams about Amazon

DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines …

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The reality is that we seem to have no chance to lure Amazon’s second headquarters to Delaware.

But it has been interesting to eavesdrop on the discussions and cheerleading upstate.

What if we could bring 50,000 skilled, high-paying jobs from one company here?

What if the grounds of a former steel plant in Claymont with a new train station or riverfront acreage in Wilmington or readily available office space along Concord Pike were suitable to Amazon?

Those are places Delaware Gov. John Carney pitched Thursday.

What if there was a possibility that Jeff Bezos could be dubbed “Uncle Bezie” in the same endearing fashion Delawareans referred to “Uncle Dupie”?

Indeed, it would be pretty unbelievable.

Did any of us ever imagine there could ever again be one company that had the might to define Delaware?

New Castle County executive Matt Meyer joked that the Brandywine River perhaps could become the Amazon River.

He prefaced his remarks Thursday at the state’s pitch to Amazon with some background on Mr. Bezos’ early years.

Mr. Meyer reflected on the original domain name that Mr. Bezos had for his online book company — relentless.com.

“I think relentless is a lot of what Amazon is and how it has succeeded,” said Mr. Meyer. “I think that’s good news for us.

“If you look at our own history, if you look at what happened on that very same Brandywine River back in 1802 when a man named E.I. du Pont from France — in the first pre-Amazon competition — chose Delaware, chose New Castle County, and chose Wilmington. He came with that same relentless spirit.

“It’s that same relentless spirit that has created many of the great inventions of the last century right here in Delaware,” Mr. Meyer added. “Things like Teflon, Nylon, ink jet cartridges, W.L. Gore, all the inventions of MBNA in the financial services industries. As we look to a future of innovation and entrepreneurship, we should first look back and pause and realize we’ve had that. And we have that here. I think that’s exactly what Jeff Bezos, the leadership of Amazon, is about.”

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On Thursday, the state debuted a new video called “Options in Delaware” that touted what we had to offer and some amusing scenes, such as the narrator saying “that’s a big boat” when appearing before a cargo ship at the Port of Wilmington.

It was largely upstate focused.

Kent County’s only specific mention was the Firefly Music Festival. The narrator was doing some crowdsurfing, while worrying, “Where’s my wallet?”

If you have a chance, check out the video and let us know what you think. It is available at www.facebook.com/DelawareStateNews.

U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., reviewed some of the attributes of Delaware from the video, including the arts, parks, and more.

“This is bigger than a pitch,” she said. “It’s a way of life.

“This is our real outreach to any company that wants to come to Delaware.”

Rep. Rochester led the gathering in a cheer — Give me an “A,” … give me an “m” … give me an “a” … give me a “z” … give me an “o” … give me an “n.”

She asked the audience, “What’s that spell?”

“Amazon!” they cheered back twice to the question.

Rep. Rochester corrected them. “It spells Delaware,” she said.

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Access to Delaware’s political leaders was one of the pros listed for Delaware.

In an amusing moment in the “Options in Delaware” video was a coffee shop scene in which former Capital One chief operating officer Jim Kelly says,

“You’ll see people like the governor so much that you’ll get tired of them.”
Mr. Kelly looks up from his newspaper and the camera cuts to Gov. Carney. “Hey Jim,” he said.

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About 100 people attended the Kent Economic Partnership’s annual awards dinner Thursday night at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino.

Dave Hugg, the city of Dover’s interim planning director, inspections and recreation, was awarded the Economic Spirit Award.

Mr. Hugg served as a city manager for Smyrna for 15 years and was credited with creating the “buzz” that went with a period of business growth there. Earlier in his career, he was the planning director for the state.

“I live in Kent County, I was born in Sussex County but close enough to call Kent home, and I’ve spent most of my entire career working here in Kent County, sharing in the ups and downs and accomplishments that we made,” Mr. Hugg said.

His parting advice in accepting the award:

“Those of you that know me know that there’s one thing I believe in more than anything else — communicate with each other,” said Mr. Hugg. “I think the answer to all of our problems is sitting down and talking, sharing a cup of coffee and listening to each other.”

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The Delaware State News is working on the 2018 edition of the Kent County Profile, an economic development magazine done in collaboration with the Kent Economic Partnership. It is scheduled to publish in January again.
Companies and organizations with listings in the book may contact us if there is information that needs to be updated or revised. Send emails to awest@newszap.com.

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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