“We did it as a community,” Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson told CNN Business on Wednesday.
Watson has said to date that the city has had about 500 confirmed cases of coronaviruses, leading to the hospitalization of 53 people and 8 deaths.
However, according to Mayor Watson, the city’s main private employers compete in some of the few sectors that see economic gains during the pandemic and have been employed as a result.
According to the mayor, Owensboro’s largest employer – his hospital, Owensboro Health – is doing financially well throughout the pandemic.
The city is also home to bourbon producers Sazerac and OZ Tyler. Nationwide alcohol and beer sales unexpectedly increased during the pandemic.
Owensboro also has a tobacco factory owned by the Swedish company Match. The Stockholm-based company said it saw surprising double-digit sales growth in the second quarter, supported by demand for nicotine patches in the United States.
President and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Candance Castlen Brake says the city is also centrally located among some of the country’s largest population centers, including Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Nashville and Indianapolis, which makes it an optimal distribution center.
Brake acknowledged that Owensboro’s happiness was an anomaly, but said it was not an accident.
“During the last recession, our economic development team invested a lot of money in our central area, which was triggered by a $ 40 million subsidy from the federal government,” the brake said. “The private development that took place in the city center really put us on the map as a community. I think we were just lucky to have sectors of growth in our community when the pandemic hit still prospered and prospered. ”
—Analyn Kurtz contributed the report.