ICYMI: Fred Hubbell’s Business Record Exposed
Sir Frederick Hubbell may have outbid his opponents for the Democrat nomination – for a price tag of $6 million – but now Democrats are left with an elitist liberal who’s only ever looked out for himself. Hubbell continues to tout his business background, but he’s fooling himself if he thinks his record doesn’t reveal how he left rural Iowa in the dust.
Hubbell’s business record merits closer examination: he cites his time with Younkers as an example of what he would do as Governor, but the facts show he closed several Younkers stores in rural Iowa to focus on higher profits in urban areas.
From the Cedar Rapids Gazette
“Iowa GOP starts to pick at Hubbell’s business record”
June 11, 2018
Iowa Republicans have opened a new front in the campaign for governor, charging Monday that Democrat Fred Hubbell is running from the truth about his time as chief executive of Younkers.
The attack is based on the closure of Younkers stores in smaller communities while Hubbell was the retail chain’s chairman from 1985-92.
Hubbell “put profits over people and made decisions that kicked working people to the curb,” according to Republican Party of Iowa spokesman Jesse Dougherty.
“The decisions made at Younkers tell Iowans everything they need to know about Fred Hubbell,” Dougherty said.
Hubbell attributed the earlier store closings to the 1980s farm crisis.
“That was a tough time. But our commitment was always to make sure our business was stable and could grow and could employ as many Iowans as possible,” he said during recording an episode of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” that aired over the weekend. “Sometimes you have to make these kind of decisions.”
The Iowa GOP cited Des Moines Register stories in which Hubbell and other Younkers executives attributed layoffs to “weak sales and increased debt” and closings to stores being “marginally profitable.”
“Obviously, we get a much better return on our investment in our larger stores,” a Younkers official said then.
From Radio Iowa
“Reynolds, Iowa GOP blast Hubbell for closing 2 Younkers stores in 1990”
June 12, 2018
The Iowa Republican Party has accused Hubbell of lying about why the two Younkers stores were closed. This is what Hubbell said during a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press”:
“We did close a few very small stores. Most of them were actually what we call clearance stores in Council Bluffs and one in the Eastgate Shopping Center (in Des Moines), but the reality is we bought the Brandeis business and we added a lot of new stores to Younkers and we hired a lot more people.”
Younkers bought the 11 stores in the Omaha-based Brandeis chain in 1986. Hubbell said the Farm Crisis was a tough time for the entire state and his goal was to keep Younkers solvent.
“We had to take tough steps to make sure we kept our business open and we employed as many people as possible,” Hubbell said on IPTV. “We started Farm Aid concerts…We gave out Farm Aid scholarships to help kids go to school. That was a tough time, but our commitment was always to make sure our business was stable and could grow and could employ as many Iowans as possible.”
The Iowa GOP cites news accounts from 1990 suggesting the Newton and Spencer Younkers stores were closed to maximize profits for the chain.
This is how Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann described Hubbell Saturday: “Prince Frederick, which I like to call him, has nothing to do with Fred Hubbell’s wealth and the fact that he’s a trust fund guy who didn’t earn it,” Kaufmann said. “It has everything to do with attitude.”