On a cold Wednesday morning where puffs of warm air hung in the chilled air Leadership Cleburne classmates gathered early to begin their journey around Cleburne to see where economy bustles and booms in our deceptively quiet town. The stops listed on our agendas soon jumped from mundane names on paper to real places filled with the real people of Cleburne. From medicine cabinets to chemicals, ice cream freezers & pastas, to Hardie house siding, from hardhats to hairnets each of these businesses offer something unique to the ever-growing economy right here in the heart of our city.
Over the noise of machines pressing metal, staple guns constructing boxes, and the gentle whir of conveyors moving products throughout various stages of assembly, Rangaire MFG is a place of more than just medicine cabinets. Rangaire MFG has been in Cleburne since 1948 and its owner, Alan Crawford, and workers convey a pride to be based here in Cleburne, Texas. Keep that in mind the next time you find yourself perusing your preferred home improvement store’s website and come across Jensen Medicine Cabinets.
Perhaps it was the safety goggles or the list of chemicals that are processed at SACHEM Inc., but flashbacks of high school chemistry could be seen darting past the minds of classmates. Though glimpses of years past hearkened on our minds, the stronger impression of SACHEM Inc. was the innovative thinking, and the care for the safety and environment in their place of operation.
From one innovative location to another, La Moderna mixes innovation and family to create a warm place of work for its people and guests. This warmth could be felt from the international company’s CEO Esteban Abascal’s welcome to the warmth radiating off of its multi-story tall machine creating, at that moment, linguine pasta.
As the classes heads’ grew full of information about the economy of Cleburne, our bellies grew empty as we arrived at the Walmart Distribution Center. Over lunch our bellies became content and our heads were packed in with even more knowledge of our city’s history and future as Executive VP Jerry Cash, of the Cleburne Economic Development Foundation, shared copious statistics and data with the class. Walmart Distribution Center was a place of hospitality with a heart for serving and giving back to the community that is second only to its churches and nonprofits. Though some in the class may argue that the spirit of giving grew too much as they gave us the experience of walking into their coldest freezer that smelled of berries and ice cream and is kept at -20 degrees. We longed for the warmth we found outside as we gathered that morning, as our noses grew red and our legs began to shake. Maybe next year they’ll offer the next class the chance to eat ice cream while in the freezer.
“First quality or no quality.” A phrase that our tour guide, Roger, rang out for us several times as we toured the James Hardie Building Products Factory, and in many ways that rings true for Cleburne. We want first quality for our community and our economy, and if Leadership Cleburne is teaching us anything, it’s that we have many first quality offerings right here in our city.
Check back next month to hear about Leadership Cleburne’s Education Day!
Written by Rev. Melissa Turkett
Pastor of Community & Engagement
First United Methodist Church Cleburne