The grand opening event boasted an attendee list that was nearly as impressive as Mogul’s new Andritz spunlace line and included prominent members of the nonwovens industry, key customers and suppliers to Mogul, as well as representatives of the state of South Carolina, Laurens County and the city of Grey Court. Among all of these people, the vibe was the same. Everyone was thrilled to welcome this prominent nonwovens company, as well known for its ambitious investment strategy as it is for its technological innovation and new product development record, to South Carolina.
The visit to Grey Court was the first time I personally had been to that part of the U.S. in several years and I was shocked to see how much the area has changed, for the better. The nonwovens industry has had a hand in this growth, not only in South Carolina but also in parts of North Carolina and even Georgia. New investments have meant new jobs in towns that were hit hard by the textile industry’s migration to Asia some years back, but nonwovens growth has eased this strain.
In addition to Mogul’s new line, Fitesa is adding a large spunmelt line down the road in Simpsonville (in fact, we saw a large billboard looking for workers to staff that site), Suominen is wrapping up its largest-ever investment in Bethune, SC and Germany’s Sandler has started up its first-ever U.S. investment in Perry, GA. Of course, these are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to nonwovens investment in this region. In addition to nonwovens manufacturers, both their suppliers and their customers have also invested in the region and surely more will follow.
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