RICHBURG, S.C. - Chester County officials are celebrating after years of failing to land a giant manufacturing plant.
Singapore-based Giti Tire announced last week it will build its first North American plant near Richburg, hiring 1,700 people to make passenger and light truck tires.
Before the June 16 announcement, Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey said that he felt like always the bridesmaid, but never the bride. Chester County has come close, but eventually lost out on three major manufacturers in the past several years.
"It's like working a puzzle. There's one piece you need to find, and we found it. Giti was the piece we needed," Roddey told The Herald of Rock Hill.
The county has been shopping the 1,100-acre site on State Highway 9 near Richburg that Giti Tire chose for a long time, and several companies were close to choosing it, officials said.
But South Korean tire maker Hankook brought its $800 million, 1,800-worker plant to Clarksville, Tennessee. Japanese tire maker Yokohama is building a $500 million plant with 2,000 employees in West Point, Mississippi. Toray Industries of Japan chose Spartanburg for its $1 billion, 500-worker plant to make plastic resins and carbon fiber composite materials.
Long before then, Chester County fought hard to get Nissan or Mercedes-Benz plants to its site near Interstate 77, but the deals could never be finalized.
Chester County Economic Development Director Karlisa Parker said the snubs were devastating. Nut she said she learned something from each of them that helped the county land Giti Tire.
All the work came to an emotional peak back in March when on an ATV with one of the owners of Giti Tire, Parker promised Chester County would embrace the foreign company.
Parker said she cried tears of joy when the owner said her people would embrace Chester County too.