Everything You Need to Know About the Changing Gears Team’s Midwest Road Trip


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This afternoon, Changing Gears reporters wrapped up a week on the road, traveling to places throughout the Midwest where local economies and town cultures revolve around single employers. We started our trip Monday in Kohler, Wisc., and completed our trip today in Orrville, Ohio.

If you missed anything, here’s a recap of our road-trip coverage:

MONDAY: Niala Boodhoo visited Kohler, Wisconsin, a town created by The Kohler Company nearly a century ago. The home-fixtures and plumbing company remains the county’s largest employer. Main story

TUESDAY: The heart of Illinois’ agribusiness lies down-state in Decatur, home of giant Archer Daniels Midland, which had sales of $62 billion last year. Main story | Reporter’s notebook

WEDNESDAY: Far to the north, the iron-ore mining industry is alive and well in Ishpeming, Mich. Kate Davidson traveled to the Upper Peninsula and found perhaps one of the last places in Michigan where blue-collar workers hold some degree of job stability. Main story

THURSDAY: Dan Bobkoff told the story of Norwalk, Ohio, where the town’s major employer, Norwalk Furniture, was rescued by 12 local citizens who bought and invested to keep it open after previous owners faced financial turmoil. Main story

FRIDAY: You may have already heard of Smuckers, located in the north-central Ohio town of Orrville, but you may not have known there are plenty of other family-owned businesses in town that have kept the local economy moving for decades. Main story

You can find a catalog of both our radio and online coverage during our Midwest Road Trip here.

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