SC county starts to see long-sought development, jobs

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. - A South Carolina county that has struggled economically is starting to see long-sought development, and jobs.

On Wednesday the governor's office announced that a Chester County food distributor would expand, pumping $3 million into its Richburg plant, and adding 100 new jobs over three years.

"We are pleased to take the next big step for our company and move forward with plans to greatly expand our Chester County facility," said Haddon House foods manager Bob Blake.

County officials waited a long time to finally hear that kind of news.

"Getting a hundred jobs here is like getting a thousand jobs somewhere else," said Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey.

Only three years ago, the county's unemployment rate was the third -worst in the state's 46 counties, sitting at a staggering 21.9 percent.

As of October, that number is down to 12.7 percent. It's still higher than neighboring Lancaster and York counties, which have 10.8 and 9.4 percent unemployment.

"We're getting it down, slowly getting it down," Roddey said.

The county can point to recent expansions and job growth and other businesses as further signs it may be turning the corner.

"When a company expands in your county, and they're already here, that's says something about how you're operating with them," Roddey said.

The county was hit hard in the 1990s and early 2000s  when textile giants shut down nearly a dozen plants across the region. Job losses reached into the thousands, and recovery has been slow.

Roddey said the county is constantly working to showcase the area and recruit new business and industry.