The Barnwell area has been hit hard the past few years. It has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Three major plants closed leaving hundreds out of work, but now things are starting to turn around for the city. Horse-head corporation broke ground earlier this summer. The plant zinc recycling plant will bring about 70 jobs. Dayco and Dixie Narco are also expanding. This week Kronotex announced they are also growing.
Tisha Hartzog, who has lived in Barnwell all her life, says "I think it's a great opportunity...a lot of people lost jobs around here...so I think it's important." She says the economy has had an impact on her. She's more careful with how she spends her money and is happy new jobs will become available in the county because she knows people going through rough times. "There's not much money...it's hard to be hired...things are bad." Kronotex USA is adding 225,000 square feet of space and a new factory. The company, Kronotex Flooring will increase production by around 60%.
Jeff Martin, the Manager of Human Resources for Kronotex says, "we will be expanding next year and be even larger than it is presently." The laminate floor manufacturing company is bringing in dozens of jobs at the warehouse as well as additional construction jobs. As the factory begins to expand, people hope the community as a whole begins to change. Nikki Mack who also lives in Barnwell says, "I'm hoping that the community will grow and more jobs come." Martin says, "in the last couple of years, Barnwell has seen employer closings ...this is some good news for a change...and we're pleased to become a part of it."