Fiber Producer Puts $8-Million Facility in Florence County
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT), which produces and markets CRAiLAR®, a natural fiber made from flax and other bast fibers, plans to open a facility in Florence County, SC. An initial $8 million investment will create 25 jobs as part of the company’s move to the county.
“We thank the state of South Carolina, Florence County and all those who helped to establish the company’s presence in South Carolina,” said Ken Barker, CEO of NAT. “We are proud to see our investments and hard work beginning to pay off in the form of the production of CRAiLAR for commercial use. We’re particularly excited that Hanesbrands, our first production partner for Crailar, is being recognized this month for its sustainability efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and that it cited the use of our flax fiber, produced out of our test facility in Kingstree, in its EcoSmart socks available at retail in April. We look forward to further establishing our commercial, agricultural and civic partnerships in the state.”
NAT will locate its operations in the 143,500-square-foot Delta Mills Cypress plant on Old River Road in Pamplico, SC. Flax, grown as a winter crop in Florence and surrounding counties, will be processed out of the new facility in Pamplico to produce its CRAiLAR fiber. The proprietary CRAiLAR process is the first to remove the binding agents from flax that contribute to its stiff texture by bathing it in a proprietary enzyme wash. The result is a textile fiber that merges the strength and durability of flax with the most desirable attributes of cotton. NAT is scheduled to begin operations there in Q2 2012. Since August 2011, Carolina Eastern Precision Ag of Pamplico has provided agronomic consultation to NAT in the region.
“We are constantly working to bring investments and jobs to all areas of our state, but it’s always exciting to see a company invest in one of South Carolina’s rural areas. We celebrate Naturally Advanced Technologies decision to locate in Pamplico and create 25 new jobs,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.
“South Carolina has a strong history in the textile, advanced materials and agribusiness sectors, and today’s announcement builds on all three. Every one of these jobs will have an impact in Pamplico and we appreciate Naturally Advanced Technologies’ decision to do business in South Carolina,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
“The long-term lease with an option to purchase the Pamplico facility is a testament to Florence County’s pro-business climate and ability to attract top performing companies. On behalf of the partnership, I would like to thank Florence County Council, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, NESA and all other parties that contributed to making this project a reality for our community. Without the support of Florence County Progress Inc., and our many allies, we would not be able to successfully bring outstanding companies like Naturally Advanced Technologies to Florence County,” stated Florence County Economic Development Partnership Chairman Dr. Charles Gould.