Urban Fold

How Has Rochester Avoided Decay?

It used to be that Rochester's fortunes were tied to its hometown company, Eastman Kodak. Peter Applebome looks at how the city has managed to avoid the long slide of its famous inhabitant.

With talk of Eastman Kodak's inevitable bankruptcy as its stock price hovers below $1, Applebome's article details the surprising resiliency of what was once the "ultimate company town."

"Rochester has been a job-growth leader in the state in recent years. In 1980, total employment in the Rochester metropolitan area was 414,400. In 2010, it was 503,200. New businesses have been seeded by Kodak's skilled work force, a reminder that a corporation's fall can leave behind not just scars but also things to build upon. "

Despite a bright future for the city, residents feel the pain of nostalgia for a company that provided, "the bountiful jobs that allowed children to follow their parents into Kodak's secure embrace [and] the seemingly endless largess that once allowed the company's founder, George Eastman, to provide dental care at little or no cost to every child in town."

Kodak's slow decline into irrelevance ended up being a blessing however, as it "allowed people at the company and elsewhere to explore new options - to take skills in medical technology, photonics, imaging or optics to small startups or to start their own."

Full Story: Despite Long Slide by Kodak, Company Town Avoids Decay


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