North Charleston-based Vapor Apparel, a maker of sports apparel and digital, print-on-demand clothing, will open a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Union County, company officials announced Tuesday.
The $1.3 million facility, which will house the company’s cut and sew divisions, is expected to create 114 jobs over the next five years. Operations at the facility, located on 8.5 acres, are expected to begin during the first quarter of this year.
Jackson Burnett, Vapor’s co-founder and president, said the investment signals a return to textiles in the Upstate.
“It is an honor to bring sewing jobs back to South Carolina,” Burnett said in a statement. “Union is textile country. It has a history in the industry. These jobs are connected to technology through print-on-demand markets, which we will continue to invest in moving forward.”
Christopher Bernat, Vapor’s co-founder and chief revenue officer, said the company chose Union primarily because of its ties to textiles.
“There is still some generational experience there that we plan to harvest,” Bernat told The Post and Courier. Bernat said the lower cost of commercial real estate in rural Union also played a role.
Founded in 2004, Vapor Apparel is experiencing rapid growth and has been named one of the 25 fastest-growing companies in South Carolina twice within the last five years. The Union County facility will complement the company’s existing production facility in North Charleston and expand its e-commerce fulfillment and print-on-demand services.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a $100,000 rural infrastructure fund grant to assist with the costs of real property improvements related to the project.
“This is great news for our community, and through public and private funds this textile project has come to fruition,” Joe Nichols, chairman of the Union County Development Board, said in a statement.
Vapor Apparel distributes its products throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean. In addition to its retail apparel products, Vapor offers Amazon fulfillment and e-commerce print-on-demand services, allowing customers to purchase customized apparel.
Reach David Wren at 937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_