A little more ribbon

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

With increasing reports about positive economic trends around the nation, it’s somewhat natural to wonder how things are going locally.

To be sure, people in Suffolk are still feeling the pain of a long and grinding recession. Jobs are still weak, there are still too many homes that are in foreclosure proceedings and too few others fetching anything close to their former values. But city residents are enjoying the same bounce from the stock market that others around the nation have noticed in recent days, the same cautiously positive news about employment that others have seen during the past couple of months, perhaps even the same rising wages that some around the country have begun to experience.

It’s still too early to declare the economy fully recovered, but these and other signs give us reason to hope.

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One of the most tangible signs of Suffolk’s improving economy is the city’s recent use of ribbon. Wide red and yellow ribbons stretched across doorways and porches — or just stretched out ceremonially by willing officials — are the hot props at the various grand opening events that are held around Suffolk. Imprinted with “Suffolk, Virginia” or “It’s a good time to be in Suffolk,” the ribbons are usually cut with a huge pair of ceremonial scissors by the mayor or other city official, along with the owner or a manager from the new business.

The city’s Economic Development Department could measure Suffolk’s improving economy by the number of times those big scissors are brought out and used. And lately, they’ve gotten a good workout.

Just within the past couple of weeks, Suffolk has welcomed a new yogurt shop, an Italian ice café and a new hair salon. Expansions have been announced and celebrated at Massimo Zanetti Beverage and at Phyllis Foster Driving School. And Dana Holding Corp. has announced plans to open a warehouse and distribution hub in a new 126,000-suare-foot facility when it is complete in the Bridgeway Commerce Center.

None of these announcements or ribbon-cuttings will turn things around in Suffolk on their own. And folks who have been out of work for months or years will probably hope for something better to come along soon. Still, though, the news in Suffolk has been unusually good lately. And that’s worth spending a little money on extra ribbon.