‘Unlimited and wonderful’: SC Gov. McMaster touts Lancaster County manufacturing site

Nutramax expands in Lancaster County SC

Nutramax Laboratories broke ground Thursday on an expansion project. SC Gov. Henry McMaster spoke.
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Nutramax Laboratories broke ground Thursday on an expansion project. SC Gov. Henry McMaster spoke.

It wasn’t so much the broken ground they celebrated Thursday as Nutramax Laboratories set off yet another expansion in Lancaster County. It was more about the people holding the shovels.

“This company and these people, this community, represent exactly what it is that projects the future of South Carolina to be unlimited and wonderful,” said S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster.

Nutramax and state officials in October announced an expansion to bring 225 new jobs and a $20 million investment to the site on Quality Drive in Lancaster. McMaster and area officials on joined hundreds Thursday morning for groundbreaking on that expansion.

Robert Henderson, Nutramax founder and board chairman, said it’s the community he encountered upon relocating his animal health division and corporate headquarters from Maryland in 2010 that led to what is now a third expansion.

“Here we are,” he said. “We came. We found this building. We found the people were very cooperative. And it’s been that way. And you know we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the friendliness, and the people.”

Nutramax makes nutritional products for human and animal consumption.

“Nutramax came to Lancaster in 2010 when we had the highest unemployment rate in the state of South Carolina,” said Steve Harper, Lancaster County Council chairman. “Springs Industries had closed up shop and left. (Nutramax) brought quality manufacturing jobs to our community, and they continued to expand.”

That 2010 relocation came with the promise of a $12 million investment and 200 jobs. It’s been more than $42 million and 420 jobs since, with at least six-figure charitable community giving since, Harper said. With the latest expansion, the totals move to more than $60 million invested and more than 500 jobs just in Lancaster County.

“We know just how much gold we struck when Nutramax came to our county,” Harper said.

Friendly people and competitive businesses aren’t exclusive to the company, McMaster said, but they’re a big part of it.

“What you’ve seen here is really the heart of South Carolina,” he said. “And what’s been stated from here is what I hear from people all around the world. They come to look, to invest billions of dollars. They bring their interpreters from Japan and Korea and all over Europe. But the things that have been said today from this spot are exactly the reason that the people come here.

“And they say it in different ways and in different languages. They say the reason they come to South Carolina, they say, are three reasons — the people, the people, the people.”

Mayor T. Alston DeVenny of Lancaster echoed what the company means to the community.

“So many are employed,” he said. “So many are contributing to this community.”

DeVenny, too, points to the people.

“We want to create a community that is open to all folks, is a great place to live, work and play,” he said. “And Nutramax Laboratories definitely is part of that mix, part of that thing that makes Lancaster special.”

Henderson jokingly said it’s the pets that keep his bottom line where it needs to be.

“Down here it’s all veterinary,” he said. “And honestly, people seem to take better care of their pets than they do themselves. So maybe that’s good for our veterinary business, anyway.”

He said it’s the hard work of Lancaster that makes the expansion feasible.

“We need dedicated people that are willing to come to work every day and put their heart and soul into the company,” Henderson said. “And we have a staff like that. And you don’t find that in every community, either.”

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