January 28, 2015

Rite Aid to build distribution center in Spartanburg County

Rite Aid Corporation announced plans to build a 900,000 square foot distribution center in Spartanburg County. The new distribution center will employ nearly 600 people after it becomes fully operational and will support the inventory and fulfillment needs of approximately 1,000 Rite Aid stores in the southeastern United States. The Spartanburg distribution center, a $90 million project, will be Rite Aid’s first new distribution facility in 15 years.

“Rite Aid’s decision to build a new distribution center in Spartanburg County is a tremendous reason to celebrate,” said Governor Nikki Haley. “This $90 million investment that will create hundreds of jobs in the Upstate will make a real difference in the local community. We welcome Rite Aid to the South Carolina family and look forward to watching them succeed here for many years to come.”

“Spartanburg is an ideal location for our new distribution center,” said John Standley, Rite Aid chairman and CEO. “We thank the state of South Carolina for their cooperation and support during our site selection process and we look forward to breaking ground on our new facility which will help us to further optimize our supply chain and better serve our stores and customers across the Southeast.”

In April 2014, after a comprehensive review of its supply chain and logistics network, Rite Aid announced its plan to consolidate three of its existing distribution centers, located in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Poca W.Va., into one new facility, as part of its ongoing efforts to improve operating efficiency across the company.

Added South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, “Having such a successful, nationally recognized company, like Rite Aid, select South Carolina for a major distribution operation is a testament to the business-friendly reputation our state has earned. Congratulations to Rite Aid and Spartanburg County on this exciting news.”

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to the project. Additionally, the South Carolina Power Team, in conjunction with Broad River Electric Cooperative, committed a $550,000 grant for infrastructure in support of the project.

Rite Aid is working with Johnson Development Associates, a leading real estate development firm based in Spartanburg, on the project. Information on employment opportunities at Rite Aid’s new facility in Spartanburg will be made available in the second half of 2015. Currently, Rite Aid employs nearly 1,400 and operates 95 stores in South Carolina.

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2014 annual revenues of $25.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing businesses grow. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as Boeing, Bridgestone, Continental, Monster.com, ZF Group, BMW and Google Inc. and also supports small and existing business, rural development initiatives and community development. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. South Carolina ranked first in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign investment, according to IBM-Plant Location International reports in both 2012 and 2013. The state won the Gold Shovel Award and the Project of Year Award from Area Development magazine in 2012. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.

New DSS leader says “it will take years” to make significant changes

Incoming DSS director Susan Alford (File)

Incoming DSS director Susan Alford (File)

State senators grilled Governor Nikki Haley’s pick to lead South Carolina’s child services agency Wednesday, offering hard questions for the embattled department’s new director.

Department of Social Services director Susan Alford said she does not expect things to be easy. “It will take years to get at the root causes,” she told senators. “I don’t have magic dust to be able to come in and do this… but I believe that I can make major improvements in how we do our caseloads and how we support our staff. And that will improve services for kids.”

Senators did not advance Alford’s nomination on Wednesday, saying they need more time for further questions.

While senators leading Wednesday’s hearing appeared largely satisfied with her answers, they still had concerns about Alford’s background that is mostly juvenile justice, rather than child services. We’re not trying to make it tough on you, we’re really not,” State Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, told Alford. “But I want to make sure it’s right. So I’m going to ask tough questions… we don’t want to go back through what we went through last year. We never want to have to do that again.”

[Read more…]

SC Big Story: House moves on its own gas tax plan

Students dance on the Statehouse steps as part of a "School Choice Week" rally on Tuesday

Students dance on the Statehouse steps as part of a “School Choice Week” rally Tuesday

A roundup of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.

An ad hoc South Carolina House committee says it has come up with several recommended changes to help the state cut into a massive road repair backlog.

But committee chairman State Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, cautioned the plan his committee unveiled Tuesday was basically a rough draft. The proposed bill will be introduced on the House floor and still must go through the normal legislative process.

“We want to begin at a starting point… for the infrastructure needs that we all realize are out there,” Simrill said during the meeting. “Realizing that something can’t be accomplished for nothing.”

[Read more…]

SC House votes to permanently ban leadership PACs

State Rep. Kirkman Finlay, R-Columbia,(Image: SCETV)

State Rep. Kirkman Finlay, R-Columbia,(Image: SCETV)

South Carolina lawmakers took another step towards ending leadership PACs in South Carolina, as the House on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to no longer allow their members to have the groups.

The 115-1 vote had been expected, as the House had already voted last year to change their own rules and no longer allow members to operate such groups. The state Senate has had a similar ban for years. The bill approved on Tuesday would make the bans permanent law.

Legislative PACs (or “non-candidate committees,” as they’re called in state law) are political action committees with ties to a particular lawmaker or elected official. While they cannot directly funnel donations to that lawmaker, they can donate to a second candidate. Some watchdog groups like the South Carolina Policy Council and Common Cause have warned those campaign chests gave already-powerful chairmen or leaders even more influence over junior members.

[Read more…]

Two injured after train derailment in Allendale County

Two people have been injured after a train derailment in Allendale County early Tuesday morning.

WRDW-TV reports railroad company CSX says one of its trains derailed around 2:20 a.m. Deputies say two crew members on the train were injured and taken to Doctor’s Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. The extent of their injuries is not known at this time.

The derailment occurred in the community of Martin, which is located about 12 miles from Allendale and 40 miles southeast of Augusta, Georgia. The train took a wrong turn and crashed into stationary rail cars outside the Archroma colored paper and textiles plant, according to a release from Archroma.

Officials say the derailment caused a chemical — believed to be hydrochloric acid — to spill, leading to an evacuation of the Archroma plant. Given the rural nature of the area, only one nearby home needed to be evacuated. Both members of the train’s crew reported difficulty breathing before they were taken to the hospital. Hydrochloric acid is a corrosive material that can damage organs, skin tissue, eyes, and intestines if touched.

CSX said the train was traveling from Savannah to Atlanta.

South Carolina Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker said the spill is now contained. A hazmat crew is determining whether the acid came from the train or the parked railcars.

The FBI is helping the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Allendale County Sheriff’s Office, and CSX respond to the situation.

Jeremy Urso contributed to this report