STANFORD, Ky. (LEX 18) — Roughly thirty years ago, a bank president here in Kentucky bet on a 23-year-old young man who had little cash and even less collateral.
“The president of PBK Bank at that time was Floyd Payton, and he said, ‘I’ll sign that note,’” said James Coffey as he told the story of how we arrived at today’s press conference.
Back then, Coffey was attempting to secure a loan to buy Pitman Creek, the Lincoln County-based distributor of fishing tackle across America. The loan needed to be co-signed by someone who could essentially guarantee that it would be paid back over time.
“Do you know what that means to people when you’ve got that kind of support in the community,” Coffey said while becoming emotional.
Today, Coffey welcomed dignitaries from across the state, including Governor Andy Beshear, to the grand opening of Pitman Creek’s new 200,000 square foot facility. Opening now, when a good chunk of the nation’s workforce seems to be in hibernation, is Coffey’s version of placing a 15 million dollar wager on the region.
"We’re well-positioned in Lincoln County that we can draw workforce from other counties,” Coffey stated confidently.
He attributes the challenge of finding and retaining employees, in part, to the pandemic.
“That’s a contributing factor, no doubt about it. People have found alternative ways to make ends meet, and it's been difficult to find people who are ready to go back and join the normal workforce,” Coffey added.
The Governor is concerned about it as well, even as several corporations have made huge financial investments in his state in recent months.
“Yes, we have to address those and our supply chain issues, which are out there too,” Mr. Beshear said after delivering remarks to the nearly 100 people who attended today’s opening ceremony.
But the Governor sounds confident that this issue with the workforce is more of an outlier than the new norm. Clearly, Mr. Coffey feels that way too now that he’s doubled down on his company, and his state.
“Someone did take a gamble on me. That’s what capitalism is all about; people risking capital for a return,” he said.