Company investing in one million-square-foot expansion
Columbia, SC — Harbor Freight Tools, Dillon County’s largest employer, announced a one million-square foot expansion of its East Coast distribution facility. This expansion is projected to create more than 500 new jobs, bringing the company’s total investment in South Carolina to more than $200 million.
Founded in 1977, Harbor Freight Tools is a family-owned national tool retailer based in Calabasas, Calif. With more than 800 stores nationwide and a new store opening approximately every three days, the company has more than 40 million customers.
This is the third expansion of the company’s distribution center; the first occurred in 2006, and another took place in 2014. Harbor Freight currently employs 650 people at its Dillon facility in positions ranging from managers to warehouse stockers; and, with this new expansion, the company will hire 500 more from Dillon County and the surrounding region. Work on the new project is expected to break ground by the end of 2017, with completion expected in early 2019.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. A $5 million Rural Infrastructure Grant was also awarded to Dillon County to assist with the costs of site preparation.
“Since we opened our first facility here in 2001, the company has continued to grow and so has our need for a larger distribution center. We’ve made an investment in Dillon, becoming part of the community, and we’re proud to expand our presence in this region. Dillon County, along with leaders from Marion and Marlboro County, were instrumental in our decision to expand here.” –Harbor Freight Tools Founder and CEO Eric Smidt
“Harbor Freight Tools’ continued investment in Dillon County and in our people is a testament to our approach to creating a competitive business environment where companies of all kinds can thrive. The 500 jobs this great company is creating will make a difference in the lives of South Carolinians, and for that, we couldn’t be more grateful.” –Governor Henry McMaster
“The expansion of Harbor Freight’s distribution operations in Dillon County signals yet another vote of confidence by this great company in the Port, the local workforce and the strong business environment in South Carolina. Congratulations to Harbor Freight, and we look forward to your continued success.” –Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
“Today’s announcement by Harbor Freight represents progress and opportunity for all citizens, and it is the perfect complement to all the other great things that are going on in economic development in our county.” –Dillon County Council Chairman Archie Scott
“The significant expansion of Harbor Freight Tools is exciting news for the Port and state. They served as a catalyst for the development of Inland Port Dillon and will be the launch customer of that facility, further driving jobs and growth opportunities for the Dillon area. The Port values our role in Harbor Freight’s international supply chain and looks forward to a strong continued partnership with them.” -S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome
“We are proud that Harbor Freight Tools has chosen to expand for the third time in the NESA region. Their ability to thrive here reflects well on the reliability and productivity of our workforce, our many logistical advantages and the support of our partner counties. We wish Harbor Freight continued success and look forward to working with them in the years to come.” –North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA) Executive Committee Chairman Sen. Luke Rankin, Esq.
“We applaud Harbor Freight’s decision to expand again in Dillon County. Our board of trustees and employees work to improve the communities we serve, and we are excited about the continuing positive impact from our partnership with Harbor Freight Tools.” –Marlboro Electric Cooperative President and CEO William Fleming
Five Fast Facts
- Harbor Freight Tools is expanding its Dillon County distribution center.
- Creation of more than 500 new jobs.
- Harbor Freight Tools is a family-owned national tool retailer based in Calabasas, Calif.
- The company is expanding its facility by one million square feet.
- Work on the project is expected to break ground by the end of 2017, with completion expected in early 2019.
About S.C. Department of Commerce
As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, since 2011, South Carolina has ranked among top three in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign investment on a per capita basis, according to IBM-Plant Location International. Additionally, in five of seven years, the state has won the Gold Shovel Award from Area Development magazine. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.