By Betsy Finklea
Harbor Freight Tools held the groundbreaking on their one million square foot expansion on Wednesday, Dec. 13th.
Robby Roberson, Vice-President of East Coast Distribution for Harbor Freight Tools, said that they had been in Dillon since 2001. This is their third expansion which will bring them up to 3 million square feet.
Their current facility is 2.1 million square feet which he said is the equivalent of 34 football fields under one roof or 48 1/2 acres under one roof.
He said this expansion will make them about the third largest distribution center in continental North America. The new building is expected to be open in 2019.
Roberson said it took a great deal of work to get to this point. He said he was proud to work with the Dillon County team, the S.C. Department of Commerce, NESA, and the S.C. Ports Authority. He said they also appreciate the strong community support.
Harbor Freight Tools will be the first company to utilize Inland Port Dillon when it is completed.
Roberson’s comments were followed by a prayer by Pastor Robert Roundtree.
Governor Henry McMaster said that expansions were breaking out all over South Carolina, and it’s changing lives. He spoke of some of the major efforts in South Carolina and said South Carolina is going to the top. He said this was a great announcement and quoted country singer Tim McGraw saying, “I like it. I love it. I want some more of it.”
Allan Mutchnik of Harbor Freight Tools was the next to speak.
Allen Mutchnik of Harbor Freight Tools said they were here today because they all cared about opportunity and offering jobs to hardworking Americans. He said it was an exciting day for Harbor Freight Tools, Dillon County, and South Carolina. He thanked all who were involved in making this possible.
Mutchnik said that Harbor Freight Tools is one of the fastest growing retailers. He said the Dillon location serves 450 stores in 30 states and was a critical part of Harbor Freight’s operations. He said they had made a $120 million investment in Dillon County so far and this was another $80 million expansion. It will create 500-600 jobs.
He spoke of investments they had made in the community including the reopening of Henry Street Park in Latta, a $600,000 project.
“We are here to stay,” Mutchnik said.
Senator Kent Williams said it was a great day in South Carolina and Dillon County. He spoke of Harbor Freight’s unbelievable growth and said they were a major reason the inland port located in Dillon County.
Rep. Jackie Hayes talked about opportunity and the teamwork that went into this project.
Rodney Berry, Dillon County Administrator, said “we are Alive on 95” and called tha announcement historical. He recognized the partners in this project.
William Fleming, Jr., of Marlboro Electric said they were proud to be a partner. He thanked Harbor Freight for being a part of making MEC the largest industrial cooperative in the nation.
Mamie LeGette of Pee Dee Regional Council of Governments/Pee Dee Workforce said these were jobs with the potential to change lives and provide a better quality of life for the citizens.
After the remarks, a groundbreaking was held.
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