A promise of 212 jobs has disappeared after the closure of NK Newlook in Blackville.
The manufacturer of store fixtures and retail interiors announced two years ago they were moving operations from Miami, Fla., to the former Allied Air building in Blackville. With that they promised 212 jobs over five years.
The company employed approximately 65 people in the spring; however, the recent loss of a contract with a major client, Pandora Jewelry, forced them to lay off everyone and close. "We had hoped for bigger and better things," said Marty Martin, the director of the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission.
Messages left on the company's website and voicemail were unreturned as of press time.
NK Newlook is in the process of selling its equipment and vacating the building by Nov. 1. The building and land, which the company bought from the EDC, are being deeded back to the EDC after failing to live up to its agreement on an economic development grant it received for cleanup and renovation costs.
While he would have rather seen the jobs come in, Martin said the building is a "significant asset", and is one of two the EDC owns that are vacant. He said two companies have already looked at the 353,000 sq. ft. building.
"We're still working round the clock to get someone in the building," added Blackville Mayor Michael Beasley.
Though NK Newlook did not work out, Martin said things look brighter for many of the county's other industries, including new industries announced in the past couple years.
Lakeside Plastics South has nearly tripled their staffing to 33 people since purchasing the facility from Sasco Safety, which had issues getting the machinery to run properly, Martin said. This is more than the 25 jobs Sasco promised when it announced it was coming to Barnwell in November 2011.
"I expect that to continue," said Martin of the hiring.
The maker of highway safety products, such as orange cones, is housed in the former Sara Lee building across from Walmart. "It's a solid company," said Martin of Lakeside, adding how they are making products and investing in a new roof.
As for safety clothing manufacturer A&K Textiles and its promise of 120 jobs, which the owner of Sasco was supposed to bring in, it will probably not work out since Lakeside Plastics does not work with textiles.
Climax Global, a plastics-to-oil recycling facility in Blackville, has brought about half of the 20 jobs they announced in December 2011. "They're doing fine," said Martin.
The never-built S.C. Tissue plant in Barnwell is not an active project, though Martin said they are still in contact with the company. The paper product maker was expected to bring 200 jobs.
Several of the county's existing industries have announced expansions in recent years, including NBS, Dayco, Kronotex and Crane.
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