A proposal by hair-care magnate and one-time Texas gubernatorial candidate Farouk Shami to open a bottle blowing plant has two Texas communities talking but not much.
The San Antonio Express-News reported June 30 that Shami, founder and president of Farouk Systems Group Inc. of Houston, will build a factory in Brownsville to make bottles for his company's products, which are marketed under the BioSilk, SunGlitz and Cationic Hydration Interlink brands in more than 50 countries.
According to officials in San Antonio, Shami had earlier promised to bring hundreds of jobs to their city during his unsuccessful 2009-10 campaign for governor. Shami was defeated in the March 2010 Texas Democratic primary by Bill White, the former mayor of Houston, receiving only 13 percent of the vote.
Ed Davis, assistant director of San Antonio's international and economic development department, said during a July 6 telephone interview that Shami met in September with a group of city officials.
We discussed the possibility of future expansion, Davis said. But I need to stress that we never got into a serious discussion involving incentives or anything like that.
In a July 9 e-mail, Gilberto Salinas, vice president of marketing, communications and public affairs for the Brownsville Economic Development Council, acknowledged that city officials have met with Shami to discuss various business development projects. Salinas would not give details, citing confidentiality and sensitivity between the prospective company and our organization.
Shami did not return calls seeking comment.
His gubernatorial campaign was characterized by the firings of several key campaign staffers, and by a nationally publicized comment, made during a February debate on immigration reform, that Without Mexicans, it would be like a day without sunshine in our state.
According to a biography from the California-based nonprofit Institute for Middle East Understanding, Shami was born in the West Bank and graduated from the University of Arkansas cosmetology school. He emigrated to the United States in 1972 and invented SunGlitz, the first ammonia-free hair color, in 1985.
In the summer of 2009 shortly before announcing his run for governor Shami made headlines in Texas when he moved production of his company's handheld appliances such as curling irons from China to a large, newly built plant in Houston.
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