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Kent International Invests $4.3 Million In Clarendon County, South Carolina, Bicycle Manufacturing Facility

Kent International Inc., a global supplier of bicycles and accessories for major retailers, is building its new bicycle manufacturing facility in Clarendon County, South Carolina, to supply Walmart with its first U.S. bicycles. The $4.3 million investment is expected to bring 175 jobs to the area.

We look forward to bringing production to South Carolina,” said Arnold Kamler, Owner of Kent Bicycles. “Our company moved all manufacturing overseas in 1990 because it was so much more cost effective. When Walmart made its commitment to U.S. manufacturing last year, it opened our eyes to restarting some manufacturing here. We attended Walmart’s August manufacturing summit and were able to focus our efforts quickly and make things happen with South Carolina.”

"We are excited with the challenge of assembling and manufacturing affordable bicycles in the United States. We feel that we have found a great partner in the state of South Carolina with their pro-business policies and an abundant pool of great workers," said Kamler.

Part of Walmart's US. Manufacturing initiative, the U.S. production of Kent's bicycles will allow the company to deliver them to stores in a 90 percent assembled condition, raising assembly efficiency for in-store personnel. In addition to Walmart, the company is a major supplier to Toys R Us, Amazon and Academy Sporting Goods.

"If we want to grow manufacturing and help rebuild America's middle class, we need the brightest minds in our universities, in our think tanks, and in our towns to tackle obstacles to U.S. manufacturing," said Walmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon. "The $10 million fund will identify and award leaders in manufacturing innovation and help us all work together to create opportunity."

"Those that have already taken the risk to move or expand manufacturing in the U.S. tell us they are experiencing a first-mover advantage-a significant leg-up in terms of market-share and momentum," added Simon. "Kent Bicycles is taking the opportunity to become one of those first-movers with its facility in South Carolina."

"It's exciting to see a leading manufacturer, like Kent Bicycles, choose South Carolina to manufacture bicycles, a mainstay of an American childhood. We celebrate the company's decision to create at least 175 new jobs and produce a half a million bicycles annually in Clarendon County, and we are pleased that Walmart's commitment to domestic manufacturing is accelerating real progress," said Gov. Nikki Haley. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits for the project.

"This is the third announcement of a Walmart supplier choosing South Carolina as their home for new manufacturing advancements," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "With our strong transportation infrastructure and general Southern hospitality, Kent International's decision further proves why the Palmetto State is just right for any business."

South Carolina's connectivity and transportation infrastructure, including deep-water port facilities, was a major driver of Kent International's decision to locate the company's new manufacturing facility in South Carolina, he said.

"The SC Ports Authority is pleased to serve Kent International as a significant new customer and looks forward to handling their import needs through our Charleston facilities," said Jim Newsome, South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO.

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