Sunbelt living seems to be everything that the Cleveland yankees transported here by Diamond Shamrock Corp. thought it would be.
When the company moved its headquarters here last year, it offered to transport everyone from executives to secretaries. Sixty of the 500 employees affected refused to come, despite lucrative enticements. But of those who moved only about a dozen have gone back.
Those who fled back to the comforting shores of Lake Erie did so for “personal reasons, like boyfriends,” says a company spokesman. “No one absolutely hated Dallas.”
Part of Diamond Shamrock’s success in transferring so many employees came from their generous relocation policy, which has been a boon to the employees but something of a hardship on Diamond Shamrock.
The corporation not only guaranteed interest rates for transferred employees who bought houses here (rumored to be at 10 per cent), they also bought the employees’ Cleveland homes. Unfortunately, a declining Cleveland real estate market and skyrocketing interest rates have left a good number of those houses on Diamond Shamrock’s hands-seven months after the last employee was transferred to Dallas.
In addition, the company paid for the costs of two pre-transfer trips for the family of each employee. They were given Texas indoctrination lessons from employees already established in the Dallas area, including one special lecture on the dangers of Central Expressway. And they were given helpful hints on Dallas living by agents of Realtors Paula Stringer, Ebby Halliday, and Henry S. Miller who were flown to Cleveland to help the Diamond Shamrock employees.
Once in Dallas, Diamond Shamrock established a counseling service for employees who seemed most distressed by the heat, the lack of public transportation in Dallas, and the friends and relatives they left behind.
“A lot of people would just call us up periodically to chat,” reports Midge Gilmore of the company’s relocation program. “That stopped after each employee had lived here about six months.”