As the saying goes, times are tough all over. Unemployment numbers continue to grow, bank failures are at record highs, and a trip to the mall is like visiting a ghost town. There aren’t very many good news stories in the economy thse days.
It’s the number of shuttered businesses that really catch my eye. The number of major chains that have failed is staggering, and some days it seems there are more empty storefronts than filled. It must be challenging for the small business owner as well, as they have to face the very real possibiity of abandoning their business. That’s an option that’s unpalatable under the best of circumstances, but for one town in South Dakota, the failure of one particular business has become an affront to much more than the palate.
Ilan Parente owned a small meat packing company in Bridgewater, SD, and faced the same economic challenges as most small businesses. He moved the business to Minnesota, but left behind the inventory – 44 tons of frozen bison. That’s where the story really gets interesting.
When the town about 40 miles away from Sioux Falls began to warm in the spring, the smell began to creep out. Some said the scent was like road kill. The mayor said he spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and could not recall smelling anything as bad.
Of course, by then, Parente was long gone. He claims to have had an agreement with a pet food company to gake the bison, and that they simply didn’t come. Once he – and his money – were gone, the power was cut and nature took over. And Parente clearly has limited concerns for the good folks of Bridgewater – or anyone but himself.
A woman who answered the phone at the Minnesota business said Parente is no longer affiliated with it. Requests for someone to comment went unanswered.
Parente has said before that he checked the meat in May and found it iced over due to a broken water pipe. He’s claimed the meat might have stunk but says he never put anyone in danger.
“I feel bad for the people of Bridgewater who had to live with the smell. But that’s really where the extent of my feeling bad goes. It wasn’t ever a health hazard to anyone.”
They ways that character is forged in the crucible of crisis, and it’s pretty clear that when Parente’s character was challenged, it simply melted away. Apparently, it’s all about you, pal …