Rock Hill firm buys Charlotte plant

deroberts@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 16, 2014 

Rock Hill’s InChem Corp. said it plans to create 40 jobs in Charlotte at a Steele Creek facility it has acquired from Virkler Chemical.

InChem said it will invest $15 million in the chemical manufacturing operation at 12345 Steele Creek Road and create the jobs over three years. The company bought the site from Virkler Chemical, whose owner, Howard Virkler, is retiring.

Virkler Chemical has operated at the Steele Creek site since the 1980s, Virkler said. He said it was time for him to step down.

“I’m 73 years old, and I have no children coming on to take it over,” he said. “So it’s the right thing to do.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Charlotte operation will become InChem’s third plant in the Carolinas. InChem spokesman Buck Lawrimore said the plant will make chemicals for other “major, international” companies looking to outsource work. He said the Steele Creek facility is 150,000 square feet on 20 acres.

Annual salaries for the new jobs will range from $40,000 to $100,000, plus benefits, Lawrimore said. The plant will employ chemical operators and engineers and chemists – all manufacturing jobs, he said.

Virkler said his four employees are expected to lose their jobs in the deal.

According to a press release, InChem is the only U.S. manufacturer of phenoxy, an epoxy-like resin used in, among other things, adhesives and coatings. InChem, which is privately owned, said it has annual sales of more than $150 million. The company has two other plants, in Rock Hill and Duncan.

Virkler said his company has been hit hard over the years thanks to the decline of the textile industry, for which Virkler made chemicals.

In 2000, the company had about 130 employees, he said.

“Really, Charlotte and Spartanburg and Greensboro, Burlington were the epicenters of the chemical industry for the textiles in this country,” Virkler said.

“Almost all those jobs are lost. It was a tragedy.”

The Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service