COLUMBIA – French cookware manufacturer Le Creuset announced Thursday that it will invest $2 million in a 93,000-square-foot expansion at their North American distribution site, located just off I-95 in Early Branch.

The announcement comes on the heels of the 116,000-square-foot expansion and $3.5 million investment at the Hampton County site last June, which created 25 new jobs for the company whose American headquarters is in Charleston.

“This investment represents our continued commitment to the Lowcountry and South Carolina,” said Faye Gooding, CEO of Le Creuset Americas. “Le Creuset is a beloved and dynamic consumer brand with a truly global footprint, and this expansion in Hampton County will directly fuel and support our aggressive growth plan over the coming years.”

Gov. Nikki Haley lauded the move as another example of the state’s business-friendly environment.

“It’s a great day in South Carolina when one of our existing businesses decides to increase its footprint here,” Haley said.

The 93,000-square-foot expansion will increase the size of the distribution facility on Bob Gifford Boulevard in Early Branch to 300,000 square feet. This is the fourth time that Le Creuset has announced investment or growth in its current location. The expansion will allow the company to service growing distribution in North and South America, as well as its expanding e-commerce business.

“Le Creuset is a world-class company that has had a presence in South Carolina for more than three decades,” state Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said. “This investment not only shows the company’s commitment to our state, but that South Carolina’s skilled workforce and exceptional access to markets continue to help our existing firms expand and create new jobs.”

According to Sandy Fowler, director of Economic Development for Hampton County, Le Creuset’s distribution center not only provides 123 jobs at the distribution facility, its presence will seed investment by other companies.

“We are proud that Le Creuset Americas chose Hampton County, and we share their success story with all of our industrial prospects,” said Fowler. “Our proximity to the ports of Charleston and Savannah, as well as the access to I-95, are great selling points. Le Creuset’s strong international brand recognition lends credibility in demonstrating Hampton County’s viability as a great location for distribution.”

The company first established its current distribution center near Yemassee in 1997 and has had a presence in South Carolina since 1974.