The coronavirus put a halt to “normal” life and had a ripple impact on the manufacturing provide chain, inflicting Orangeburg County corporations and producers to make use of layoffs and furloughs in an effort to outlive the downturn.
Some corporations went from three shifts to at least one shift. Some corporations decreased their workforce by nearly 50%.
The worldwide journey ban additionally delayed initiatives in transferring ahead.
But industries confirmed resilience and even went above and past to assist through the peak of the pandemic.
“2020 was a challenging year but a year of some promise overall,” Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson mentioned, noting the county noticed a file yr for development associated to industries.
Some examples of commercial success in 2020 embrace the present 500,000 sq. ft beneath development within the county.
Industrial product growth was additionally part of 2020 with the extension of roads on the John. W. Matthews Industrial Park in addition to the development of a industrial concrete pad on the Western Orangeburg County Industrial Park. The pad is giant sufficient to keep up a 75,000-square-foot constructing.
Another street has been constructed into the Orangeburg County Industrial Park and water and sewer extensions have been put in place on the Tr-County Global web site.
“It has been an exceedingly busy year,” Robinson mentioned.
Some corporations, such because the Elloree Food Lion distribution middle, noticed good points.
The county’s largest producer, Husquvarna, continued sturdy and Orangeburg’s SI Group noticed the sale of ibuprofen stay regular or enhance because of the pandemic.
Bimbo Bakeries additionally had a headcount enhance as demand elevated for meals ready at dwelling.
Local industries adjusted to the challenges by guaranteeing inventory ranges have been ample and that short-term disruptions weren’t dangerous.
Local producers additionally stepped up and commenced making private protecting gear. Some donated PPEs to native medical suppliers.
The OCDC grew to become a useful resource for native producers feeling the financial results of the coronavirus.
Tourville and Cox
The yr additionally introduced with it the passing away of two industrial giants — Frank P. Tourville and Bill Cox Sr.
Robinson praised the 2 “stalwarts of industry” as males of character to be emulated.
Tourville, founding father of Zeus Industrial Products Inc., died March 16.
Tourville was a widely known and extremely regarded visionary within the polymer extrusion trade. Products have been used within the medical system, aerospace, automotive, power and different sectors.
Today, the corporate employs over 1,800 folks worldwide with manufacturing and gross sales amenities in Aiken, Columbia, Gaston and Orangeburg; Branchburg, New Jersey; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Guangzhou, China; and Letterkenny, Ireland.
Cox constructed his personal wood-preserving enterprise in Orangeburg in 1953. It grew from 5 workers and a complete weekly payroll of $300 to 14 manufacturing amenities and 5 distribution yards using some 400 people in 10 states.
Cox died Feb. 11, 2021.
As the top of April 2021 neared, Robinson mentioned there are pockets impacted by COVID however the “outlook is positive” because the vaccine rollout continues.
He mentioned corporations in a position to do higher through the pandemic have been associated to meals service and sturdy items. The automotive and aerospace sectors struggled.
“We are bullish they will come out of this hopefully very soon,” Robinson mentioned. “We have to get people flying again.”
He mentioned aerospace has seen a lot success through the years however was hit arduous by 2020.
In an effort to honor industries, the county is the potential of an occasion round September if the pandemic has lessened.
As a part of the annual Industry Appreciation Week, the county has additionally acknowledged a person having contributed to the area people when it comes to new job alternatives and capital funding. Due to the coronavirus, all occasions are on maintain.
Manufacturing’s massive position
Manufacturing and trade have all the time been a serious element of Orangeburg County’s financial system.
From aerospace to vehicles to garden mowers to chemical compounds, Orangeburg County makes issues.
The county boasts a various industrial panorama of greater than 100 corporations, with producers using over 8,200.
About 19% of the county’s inhabitants works in manufacturing, in accordance with the South Carolina Department of Employment & Workforce Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages from the third quarter of 2020.
Manufacturing is the most important sector of the county’s workforce, with about 5,150 people employed in manufacturing out of a county workforce totaling 26,824. The county is among the many state leaders within the largest proportion of its workforce in manufacturing.
Despite the coronavirus and unprecedented occasions, Orangeburg County continues to acknowledge its producers.
Officials tout the county’s pro-business angle with sturdy coaching applications, in addition to its location close to 4 interstates and the Port of Charleston.
Company curiosity within the county has been at a excessive and the county continues to focus on industries corresponding to automotive, aerospace, transportation, logistics, recycling, plastics, textiles, agribusiness/timber and power.
Husqvarna, which employs greater than 2,000 folks, is the county’s largest employer. The seasonal firm manufactures using garden mowers.
Other giant employers, in accordance with the OCDC web site, embrace:
- Food Lion Distribution Center, distribution of groceries, dry and perishable, with 498.
- Zeus Industrial Products Inc., polymer tubing, 450.
- Allied Air Enterprises Inc., residential furnaces and air conditioners, 400.
- SI Group, specialty chemical manufacturing, 322.
From April 2020 to April of this yr (the timeframe since The Times and Democrat’s final trade appreciation publication) Orangeburg County has seen corporations announce a complete $182.3 million funding and 226 new jobs.
Jobs and capital funding totals are firm projections over a number of years and should not have been absolutely realized.
Companies that publicly made bulletins between April 2020 and April 2021 embrace:
- An Israeli fish-farming firm introduced plans in October 2020 to speculate greater than $28.1 million to ascertain its flagship U.S. operations in Orangeburg County. Pure Blue Fish’s funding will create 82 new jobs.
Pure Blue Fish grows yellowtail fish utilizing recirculating aquaculture programs with zero water discharge know-how, which reduces water prices and air pollution.
The firm will construct a brand new facility on the John W. Matthews Industrial Park on Five Chop Road close to U.S. 176.
The facility will likely be between 50,000 sq. ft and 100,000 sq. ft. It will likely be situated on 30 acres within the park.
The constructing is anticipated to be accomplished by 2022.
Pure Blue Fish’s South Carolina operations will function a manufacturing and packaging facility for distribution to the restaurant market. The fish is usually eaten as sushi or sashimi in tremendous Japanese eating places, or grilled and served extensively in different cuisines. In retail outlets and supermarkets, the entire fish is bought in addition to fillets.
- Virginia-based Brewer Renewables, a subsidiary of Seahorse Capital, in October 2020 introduced it was going to construct a brand new photo voltaic farm in Orangeburg on Cannon Bridge Road close to Riley Road.
The funding is $85 million.
The photo voltaic farm will create momentary jobs through the development part however, like most photo voltaic farms, no everlasting jobs will likely be created.
It will embrace a 100-megawatt photo voltaic facility with the choice for extra power storage of as much as 100 megawatts and 400 megawatt hours, which might present energy to roughly 20,000 South Carolina houses.
The undertaking is anticipated to be operational in 2023.
- Sigmatex Carbon Textile Solutions in December introduced its plans to develop operations within the county. The greater than $4.5 million funding will create 50 new jobs.
Sigmatex’s facility on the John W. Matthews Jr. Industrial Park will develop into the British firm’s North American headquarters.
Sigmatex’s enlargement will embrace instant funding in equipment and gear – growing capability from 750,000 yards per yr to three million yards per yr.
Sigmatex’s Orangeburg facility employs 5 however the enlargement within the brief time period will enhance employment to 50. Over the subsequent 5 years, employment is anticipated to develop to over 100 jobs.
The firm’s merchandise are utilized in a number of industries, together with the house, navy, automotive, aerospace and renewable power sectors.
- Allied Air Enterprises, Inc., a subsidiary of Lennox International, introduced plans in December to develop operations in Orangeburg County.
The $35.7 million funding will create 20 new jobs.
Allied Air’s enlargement will embrace the development of a 405,000-square-foot warehouse to extend the corporate’s manufacturing and storage capabilities. The firm is situated at 355 Millennium Drive within the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park.
The enlargement is anticipated to be accomplished by October 2021.
The enlargement is the second the corporate introduced in 2020.
In August, Allied Air introduced it might develop into the $13 million, 200,000-square-foot speculative constructing on the OC/CIP.
The constructing may even be used for warehousing and manufacturing capability. The variety of workers didn’t enhance with the undertaking.
- QuikTrip Corp.’s opened its $7 million journey middle close to the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park at U.S. Highway 301 and Interstate 26 in January 2021.
The firm, generally often known as QT, selected the Orangeburg market as a part of a enterprise enlargement effort.
The journey middle is QuikTrip’s new mannequin Generation 3 facility, which features a QT kitchen space the place meals corresponding to pizzas, flatbreads and toasted sandwiches might be made. It additionally provides made-to-order tacos.
The middle occupies 6 acres and contains 20 gasoline pumps in a position to service 20 automobiles on the similar time. The middle additionally has 10 truck bays.
It employs about two dozen.
- Virginia-based INDEVCO North America Inc. introduced in March 2021 it might make investments $22 million and create 50 new jobs in Orangeburg County.
The firm is creating a 100,000-square-foot industrial facility at 715 Prosperity Drive inside the Orangeburg County Industrial Park.
The firm produces high-performance protecting merchandise corresponding to coated and laminated paper, plastic movies and packaging.
Its new Orangeburg manufacturing facility will help the petrochemical, garden and backyard, and salt markets.
The 100,000-square-foot, pre-engineered steel constructing will home manufacturing, storage, workplace and lab house.
The new facility is anticipated to be accomplished by the autumn of 2021.
- North Carolina-based industrial hemp firm Carolina CannaTech introduced in December it has constructed a 2,400-square-foot cannabidiol facility on a 50-acre parcel of Carolina Fresh Farms’ 3,000-acre hemp and sod farm. The farm is situated on Savannah Highway south of Neeses.
The firm will concentrate on cannabis oil extraction.
The firm grows, harvests and extracts hemp on-site.
Company officers declined to touch upon the price of the funding besides to explain it as “significant.”
The farm at the moment employs three with plans to develop the extraction facility.
The facility makes use of extraction and evaporating strategies and gear to show their farm-grown hemp into crude oil and ultimately to a distillate, or full-spectrum CBD, which is utilized in Nature’s Highways merchandise. Nature’s Highway is the corporate’s personal CBD product model.
The operation contains the whole course of: planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying and extracting CBD from the hemp vegetation.
At the state stage, an trade influence awards luncheon and ceremony has sometimes been held on the finish of April in Columbia.
Local industries have been acknowledged on the occasion.
The Department of Commerce just isn’t internet hosting an occasion this yr, however is collaborating in domestically hosted occasions as acceptable.