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Shelbyville runs ads to court Honda workers.

April 9, 2007

Shelbyville and Shelby County have launched a marketing campaign in Marysville, Ohio, hoping to attract Honda workers moving to Indiana to work at the automaker’s new plant near Greensburg.

 

The Shelby County Development Corp. began running full and half-page ads in the Marysville Journal-Tribune on March 30. The ads direct readers to a Web site called WelcomeHonda.com, which shows video clips of Shelbyville residents – both kids and adults – touting the benefits of living in Shelbyville.

 

The city of 18,000 is roughly 20 minutes from the new auto assembly plant, which Honda expects to open in the fall of 2008. Other communities likely to draw Honda workers include Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ind., and Batesville, Ind.

 

About 100 to 200 Honda workers and their families are expected to move from existing Honda facilities to work in the Greensburg factory, said Dan Theobald, executive director of the Shelby County Development Corp.

 

They will most likely come from Marysville, where Honda’s North American Manufacturing unit is headquartered. However, Theobald said, workers also could come from Honda’s plant in Alabama.

 

The campaign, developed by Plainfield-based Avatar Communications, will cost about $50,000, Theobald said.

 

About $10,000 of that cost was covered by the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors. WelcomeHonda.com links to a MIBOR Web site where visitors can look for homes.

 

If Shelbyville – or any other community – were able to attract the majority of Honda workers, it would boost its workforce, increasing its school enrollment and attracting more retail, Theobald said.

 

“Everybody’s trying to go after the companies that serve Honda, but we’re trying to keep our schools strong,” he said. “And the only way you can do that is with more enrollment.”

 

Theobald said WelcomeHonda.com received 7,000 hits in the first week it was live.

 

“We’re pretty happy with that,” he said.

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