A company that makes dietary supplements for people and animals has announced a $12.5 million expansion in Lancaster.
Nutramax Laboratories Inc. and Nutramax Manufacturing Inc. says it plans to create 200 new jobs over the next five years. The company expects to begin operations as soon as this fall and hopes to start hiring within the next 90 days, company and state officials said.
That's welcome news in a county with the state's seventh-highest unemployment rate at 17.1 percent. More than 5,000 working-age people were out of work in March, the latest figures available.
In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Lancaster as the most vulnerable town of its size in America, based on its high unemployment and high poverty and a general lack of higher education among its people.
Lancaster has sought to reinvent itself after the collapse of the Springs textile mills, once the city's dominant employer.
Mayor Joe Shaw said the city was "grateful" to Nutramax for deciding to set up shop here.
"We are committed to helping develop a great community partnership between them and our local workforce," Shaw said. "I'm sure our Southern charm and enhanced services will prove beneficial to their future success."
Lancaster County Council Chairman Rudy Carter credited the combined efforts of state and local economic development leaders.
"Our local workforce will partner with Nutramax and make certain that they are successful for decades to come," Carter said.
Nutramax initially will operate in existing buildings in the Lancaster County Business Park on Quality Drive.
The family-owned and operated business is currently based in Edgewood, Md. Its new South Carolina operations will allow the company to boost production of new and existing products in the veterinary and consumer divisions, officials said in an announcement.
"We feel that South Carolina and Lancaster County provide the perfect setting for our businesses to grow, and our employees and their families to live and work in an area with safe, affordable housing, plentiful recreational opportunities and quality of life," said Nutramax president Todd Henderson.
Nutramax Laboratories develops and makes joint health supplements for dogs, cats and horses, liver health supplements for dogs and cats and a joint health supplement line for people.
Founded in 1992, Nutramax describes itself as a Christian-based company.