This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Ryan's Hometown And The Route Back To Prosperity

Stocks in this article: GM WHR

GM still owns the plant and, technically, it's on "standby." In reality, it's a deserted hulk of 4.8 million square feet surrounded by weed-choked parking lots. Most of its employees retired early or accepted offers to move to other plants. Even if the automaker reopened, city economic development director Vic Grassman says wages would be far lower because of union agreements struck before the plant was idled.

About 6,000 jobs were lost at the plant and at businesses it supported. At the Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership in Janesville, manager Gary Sinks says sales are still ringing in at about half of what they were before GM "turned out the lights." In the year after the plant shut down, people simply stopped visiting his store and he was forced to lay off 10 people from his staff of 50.

"We downsized and we'd never done that," Sinks said. "It was pretty dark. That meant that everyone who was still there had to work harder and do a better job maintaining (relationships with) whatever customer was walking through the door."

Ryan's family wasn't immune. The earth-moving company the family's forebears founded in the mid-1880s, run today by Ryan's cousin Adam, was forced to sell some of its equipment and lay people off. Revenue has dropped 25 percent since 2008, said Jeff Schultz, the company's human resources manager.

"We just haven't had the demand. Business hasn't broken out," Schultz said. "We've accepted this as maybe the new normal."

As the GM plant headed for closure, Ryan â¿¿ who has represented Janesville in Congress for the past 14 years â¿¿ made a rare departure from his free-market orthodoxy that frowns on government intervention. He backed the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, a bailout Romney has loudly said was a mistake, and teamed with Democrats in Madison and in Wisconsin's congressional delegation to unsuccessfully lobby GM to keep the plant running.

2 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs