January 17, 2023
In the last 10 years, manufacturing employment has grown 18% in South Carolina with an estimated 5,000 jobs tied to the manufacturing industry in Dorchester County. KION North America Corporation, a forklift builder, Showa Denko Carbon, a leading global supplier of graphite electrodes, and BID Group Technologies, a specialist in engineering and design, industrial fabrication, construction, and facilities management for sawmills, are among the largest manufacturers in the county.
The automotive industry keeps South Carolina’s economy moving with an estimated annual economic impact of more than $27 billion. Dorchester County is home to automotive parts maker, Robert Bosch, LLC, the county’s largest private employer, ZF, a leader in commercial vehicle technology for trucks, trailers, and buses, and Sundaram Clayton Limited, a leading supplier of aluminum die castings to the automotive and non-automotive sector. In 2022, Bosch announced their expansion into electric motor production, a $260 million investment into their Dorchester County operations creating 350 new jobs.
Four boat manufacturers call Dorchester County home. Key West Boats has two locations in the area with more than 160,000 square feet of operational facilities for design, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and customer service. Scout Boats, located in Summerville, designs and manufactures world class luxury models from 17 to 53 feet, each packed with timeless innovations, technology, and trendsetting features. Zodiac Nautic, also located in Summerville, has been mastering air and water exploration since 1896.
Professional craftsmen at Sportsman Boats manufacture family-friendly console boats using the latest designs, procedures and materials. In fall of 2022, Phenom Yachts, a subsidiary of Sportsman Boats, announced plans to establish operations in Dorchester County with a $12 million investment, creating 149 new jobs.
Logistics and Distribution
Logistics and distribution account for a large part of Dorchester County’s economic development wins and is a segment that will see continued growth. In 2021, Walmart opened a $220 million distribution center near Ridgeville to strengthen its supply chain network while creating more than 1,000 local full-time jobs.
This direct import distribution center, spanning nearly 3 million square feet, supplies several regional distribution centers supporting approximately 850 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs across South Carolina and beyond.
The construction materials industry in Dorchester County employs more than 2,300 people. Knight’s Companies Inc. has celebrated over 50 years in business. The family-owned company has expanded its offerings from septic tank work to becoming a leading provider of commercial concrete products in the region and one of the county’s largest employers. Dorchester County is also home to international cement companies Argos and Giant Cement.