Buying a new home is a big deal. For many homeowners, it's one of the most important decisions they ever make. When it comes to such a substantial choice, there are a lot of factors to consider, like:
Getting the answers to those questions can be hard but finding a trustworthy manufactured home company can be even more challenging. Sure, you could settle for a fly-by-night company or a shady mobile home dealer. But if you're like most folks, you want to work with a reliable company that has been in business for years. You need a team of professionals who can answer your questions, address your concerns, and sell you a quality home that will keep your family safe and sound.
Welcome to Ken-Co Homes Inc. - your premier choice for mobile home sales in Jamestown, SC. Ken-Co Homes has been Lake City's go-to manufactured home since 1974. With several locations in South Carolina, we're the first choice for manufactured homes in the state. As longtime locals in the community, we pride ourselves on honesty, hard work, and running a manufactured home business that you can count on.
There's no secret sauce that makes Ken-Co Homes successful. We work hard, sell the finest Clayton, Destiny, Scotbilt, Homes, and treat our customers like we would like to be treated. That's why, when you meet our team for your home tour, you'll be treated with respect and greeted with a warm smile. Whether you have questions regarding financing or the fit and finish of a floorplan, we'll maintain that same level of kindness, courtesy, and honesty. That way, you know for sure that you have invested in a top-notch manufactured home that your family will love.
Unlike other manufactured home dealers, we have a full selection of Clayton Homes for sale with attractive floor plans to fit your unique lifestyle. When you choose Ken-Co Homes, you're also choosing:
We offer our valued customers a $500 guarantee that we will meet or beat ANY competitor who has a lower price on one of our homes with the same options. Don't believe us? Contact our office today!
With decades of combined experience, our team has the tools and know-how to make your buying process smooth and stress-free.
Buying a home can be challenging, especially with travel logistics and other factors at play. Our team can help answer any questions you have about buying a home and transporting it to a park or piece of private land.
When you buy from Ken-Co Homes, you're investing in a high-quality product that your family will love for years to come. With more than a dozen home choices, you're sure to find a new home that matches your lifestyle.
We'll work with you one-on-one to ensure you get the home of your dreams. If you have questions or concerns once you move in, give us a call - we're here to help.
We offer detail-oriented, experienced set-up crews that make living life in your new home easy and efficient.
At Ken-Co Homes, we offer flexible financing options to help make buying your dream home a reality.
Whether you're looking for a smaller two-bedroom manufactured home or a large, luxurious four-bedroom manufactured home, our friendly consultants are ready to help you build the home of your dreams.
"Is there a difference between a mobile home and a manufactured home?" is one of the most common questions we get online and in person. Today, many people use mobile home and manufactured home interchangeably. That's understandable because both types of homes share similar features and benefits for homeowners. However, understanding the minor differences can be valuable when searching for a new place to call home.
Unlike site-built homes, manufactured homes are built in a factory. Once completed, they're shipped to a specific location where the homeowner will live. The term "manufactured home" refers to any factory-built home constructed after June 15, 1976. That date is when the HUD or U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development implemented guidelines centered around manufactured home construction.
HUD code requires manufactured homes to be constructed on a base frame with wheels with a minimum of 320 square feet.
Thanks to fast build times and lower material costs, manufactured homes for sale in Jamestown, SC is often more cost-effective for home buyers. Compared to traditional site-built homes, many manufactured homes can be up to 35% less than more traditional houses.
Any mobile homes built after June 15, 1976, are considered manufactured homes today, though many people use the term mobile home casually. In the past, these homes were used to travel and were more like the expensive RVs that people use today than true manufactured homes. Back then, mobile homes received a bad reputation due to poor build quality, but they've come a long way since that time. Today, mobile homes are safe, comfortable, and structurally sound, with many types of amenities and floor plans.
Manufactured homes are more popular in the U.S. than ever, and for good reason: prospective homeowners are looking for affordable, quality alternatives to traditional homes. That's especially true today, with inflation on the rise, necessitating more budget-friendly options for anyone who wants to put a roof over their heads.
If you're used to living in a traditional, site-built home, you may be wondering what the advantages are of buying a manufactured home. Here are just a few of the most common benefits of buying a manufactured home:
When you boil it down to the basics, buying a new home is all about the money. One of the most attractive reasons for buying a manufactured home is that they are often much less expensive than traditional site-built homes. Today, manufactured housing is considered a crucial part of the housing shortage solution and a viable option with inflation rising. According to statistics, the average square-foot cost of a site-built home is $107, while the average price is only $49 in a manufactured home. Whether you're sticking to a strict budget or your finances have changed due to poor economic conditions, going manufactured might be your best choice.
Owning a manufactured home gives the homeowner long-term living options. Because basic manufactured homes are usually very affordable, families with enough land can start with a small home and add additional units as their needs change. Manufactured homes are also great as starter homes, especially for families that plan on building a permanent structure on their land in the future. Though it could be logistically challenging, manufactured homes can also be moved to a different site if the initial one was on rented property.
Manufactured homes have received a bad rap over the last few decades. In reality, most manufactured homes are purpose-built for longevity with structural integrity. Every manufactured home built today is subject to the HUD code adopted in 1976. This code is the only federally-mandated code in existence. It was designed to ensure that manufactured homes meet strict standards regarding fire safety, structural design, energy efficiency, transportation to home sites, and overall construction. All manufactured homes sold in the U.S. have a permanent red seal to confirm they meet HUD standards.
When you buy a manufactured home, you may be able to move in faster than you would via traditional routes. Some manufactured homes are even move-in ready in less than 45 days. Compared to a traditional home, once a new manufactured home is built in the factory, buyers usually find that installation is a quick process. Once the manufactured home is delivered, utility work usually moves quickly, regardless of whether you're moving to a park or transporting your home to a piece of land. Before you know it, you're eating, sleeping, and enjoying life in your new manufactured home.
When asked about the pros and cons, many buyers cite energy efficiency as one of the most significant benefits of owning a manufactured home. In general, manufactured housing is more energy efficient than traditional because HUD mandates ensure that homes have high energy efficiency ratings.
These ratings are achieved through upgraded insulation installation, on-demand water heaters, and energy-efficient windows. These upgrades often make entire manufactured homes Energy Star certified. It's no surprise that manufactured homes are 27% more efficient than they used to be with other additions like energy-saving appliances in kitchens and bathrooms.
If you've ever lived in an apartment complex before, chances are you heard sounds and noises through your walls that you never wanted to hear. If you hate hearing your neighbors and despise thin walls, looking for mobile home sales in Jamestown, SC is a great idea. Why? Manufactured homes are typically built using separate modules, which reduces sound transference from room to room. When two or more modules are combined and insulated separately, buyers enjoy an even quieter, stronger home with less outside noise.
If there's one disappointing aspect of manufactured homes, the stigma seems to surround them. Yes, mobile homes from 30 or more years ago aren't exactly marvels of construction and deserve to be criticized. However, modern manufactured homes are cut from a different cloth and are often every bit as safe and luxurious as site-built homes.
Here are some of the most common (and annoying) mobile home myths debunked:
Modern manufactured homes are factory-built homes crafted with quality materials that meet comprehensive federal construction and safety standards. These standards, called the "HUD Code," outline how the homes must be built, including safety guidelines. For example, manufactured home builders must take strict measures to ensure their homes are resistant to wind. In terms of hurricanes and tornados, having such measures in place can prevent a tragedy from happening.
The bottom line is that manufactured homes are plenty safe and provide a quality product to people who want a lower-cost option over traditional housing.
One of the most repeated myths surrounding manufactured homes is that they are in poor shape and have an overall poor quality. Today, many manufactured homes are built with quality materials and care. It's not unusual to find a manufactured home with luxurious amenities and features lie state-of-the-art kitchens, high-end appliances, and chic open floor plans. At Ken-Co Homes, we can provide you with a complete list of available upgrades and amenities for you to enjoy in your new home.
Perhaps it's due to their popularity and lower prices, but we often hear that it's hard to find manufactured homes for sale. As seasoned home dealers, we can say this is categorically false. Whether you head over to Google and search for "mobile homes near me in Jamestown, SC," or simply head to Ken-Co Homes' website, you'll see plenty of homes to choose from. Contact our office today for a full list of our homes for sale!
When it comes to home prices in today's day and age, manufactured homes are among the most affordable options available.
That's because manufactured homes cost less to construct than site-built homes, with the average price costing $92K for new construction and $60K for a pre-owned manufactured home, according to recent data. The cost of a traditional home is much higher, with an average of $408K, according to Statista data from 2021. Even though manufactured home living costs change depending on the community, they're often much less expensive than their site-built cousins in the long run.
This myth parallels the stereotype that manufactured homes are cheap and poorly built. Unfortunately, many people still believe that living in a manufactured home community isn't safe. They think that the parks are run down and riddled with reprobates. In reality, many manufactured home parks mimic gated communities with 24-hour security and mandated quiet hours. Some manufactured home neighborhoods even offer community-wide amenities like spas and pools. If you're a fan of the gated community lifestyle but don't want to pay hundreds of thousands for a site-built home, a manufactured home community could be your best bet.
Are you giving serious thought to buying a manufactured home for sale in South Carolina? You're not alone - more than 365K people in the Palmetto State live in manufactured homes. At Ken-Co Homes Inc., we're not your average run-of-the-mill manufactured home dealer. We only do business with manufacturing partners committed to building top-quality products that our customers are proud to own.
If you're looking for modern amenities, energy-efficient appliances, unique floorplans, and homes constructed with quality materials, Ken-Co Homes is the company for you. Contact our office today to learn more about our beautiful Clayton homes for sale in Jamestown, SC.
FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — Internationally known artist J. Renee has designed her version of an electric chair that was used for the execution of 14-year-old George Stinney, Jr. back in 1944 in Clarendon County.The chair is on display at the University Place Gallery in downtown Florence as part of the ...
FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — Internationally known artist J. Renee has designed her version of an electric chair that was used for the execution of 14-year-old George Stinney, Jr. back in 1944 in Clarendon County.
The chair is on display at the University Place Gallery in downtown Florence as part of the Jamestown Foundation's 'No Place Like Home' exhibit.
The Jamestown Foundation was created to "honor the history of the former slaves of the Pee Dee Region and their descendants. It recognizes the family land and legacy of Ervin James, the first freed African American slave to own property in Florence, SC. This exhibit includes the artwork of master artists and craftspeople who are currently living and working in the southeast, many of whom continue to use traditional and historic art making processes."
Stinney was convicted and put to death by the electric chair on June 16, 1944, for the murders of two girls ages 7 and 11 in the Alcolu community of Clarendon County.
Their bodies were found on March 24, 1944. Stinney was arrested the same day.
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Officials said Stinney confessed, but that he was coerced. The trial lasted 2 and a half hours without testimony from Stinney.
In 2014, a circuit court judge heard arguments on whether a new trial should be granted and overturned his conviction saying the state did a great injustice when it put Stinney in the electric chair less than two months after he was convicted and just 12 weeks after he was arrested.
J. Renee said she recently learned of Stinney's story and wanted to do something in his honor.
“It just touched me and people need to know the story. Not just here in South Carolina. But also nationally. It should be one of our history pieces. You know, this piece should teach us something moving forward. I wanted people to know his story. Because I was devastated that he was 14 years old. And he didn’t have a voice. So, I wanted this piece to basically give him a voice," said J. Renee.
Her chair has ropes, blue bottles, traps, lights, angles and so much more.
J. Renee said each piece on her chair makes a statement, including a glass plate with a faint image of Stinney's face.
"You see a face which is used a portrait of him. But, I didn’t want you to see really his face. Because they hid his face. And not only that. You see his eye looking. And this is reverse glass. That’s my specialty. A reverse glass piece and it literally cracked when I was working on it. And I decided to fix it and keep it like that. Because he was broken.”
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The Bible on the chair also has a significant meaning.
“They say their last rights of passage basically. When they are getting ready to be executed. But, more importantly, that he had to sit on a Bible because he was so small. And so, I want people to see that and feel something.”
Terry James with the Jamestown Foundation said there are wonderful pieces of art at the exhibit, but the chair really sends a message.
“It really helps us to tell the story of African-Americans who lived in the south. Who lived in the United States. And what this piece really does, it speaks to people. Because you think about you were at 14 years old. You are playing. You are innocent. And all of a sudden you're cast into the limelight of doing something tragic that you really didn’t do. And so it really helps the Jamestown to tell the story of African Americans who lived in the Pee Dee and surrounding areas,” said James.
University Place Gallery coordinator Colleen Critcher said the chair is quite a talking piece and gets a lot of attention.
“It stops people in their tracks. And there are a lot of questions. Just because visually, it’s very interesting. And you can tell immediately that there’s a story," said Critcher.
J. Renee is "internationally known for her reverse glass paintings or Eglomise, depicting the life and times in New Orleans, pre and post-Katrina. She enjoys painting images and/or scenes depicting images that promote thought on issues of social justice, history, and folklore.
Her glass paintings include tropical Gauguin-inspired figures, surrounded by poignant scenes from the city she loves and pines for -- cemeteries, second lines, iron work, flood wreckage and rescue helicopters. She graduated from Xavier University in 1989 with a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts. Her teacher and mentor was renowned artist and MacArthur Foundation recipient, John Scott.
Renee often includes photo clippings to lend unexpectedly realistic touches to her mixed media works. Like many, Renee was a Katrina evacuee who was forced to move around the country before settling in Columbia, SC.
The chair will be on display at the gallery until Aug. 13.
JAMESTOWN — Steve Scott probably didn’t know it as a child, but his future held a career in the construction industry.While living in Minnesota at the age of 5, he spent one summer with a great aunt who had stripped down a house to get ready to build a new one.Scott saw a pile of boards and decided to start tacking some together.“I built a table and an outhouse,” he remembered with a chuckle. “They were all crooked, but it kept me out of their hair.”Scott later took a course in ...
JAMESTOWN — Steve Scott probably didn’t know it as a child, but his future held a career in the construction industry.
While living in Minnesota at the age of 5, he spent one summer with a great aunt who had stripped down a house to get ready to build a new one.
Scott saw a pile of boards and decided to start tacking some together.
“I built a table and an outhouse,” he remembered with a chuckle. “They were all crooked, but it kept me out of their hair.”
Scott later took a course in a junior high school shop class when he built some other items, though not quite as hastily nailed together as the structures from his former years.
He even built a small wooden boat in his parent’s basement while in high school.
But even with his love of building things, Scott decided to take a different path than the construction industry for his life’s work.
Prodded by his father, an aerospace engineer, Scott attended Hamline and Wake Forest universities and majored in chemistry. He earned a master’s at Wake Forest in chemistry and physics before heading to Florida State University to earn a doctorate in chemistry.
He taught chemistry at Penn State for a couple years, then went to work for General Electric in Indiana for about eight years.
Then Raybestos recruited Scott as a technical director and brought him to the former Garco Mill in North Charleston to help develop new products to replace the cancer-causing asbestos the company had made for years.
That’s also where Virginia “Ginny” Drews worked. The two met, got married and later had a son.
After moving around quite a bit with job opportunities in several states across the eastern U.S., they moved back to Charleston in the late 1990s when the company Scott worked for was bought and operations were moved to Mexico.
Scott took an interim job with a company in Spartanburg that served as a feeder plant to BMW. The company paid for his weekday accommodations while he was in the Upstate, but Scott knew he wanted to work closer to home.
“I was looking for a permanent job in the Charleston area and found out this operation (the sawmill) was for sale,” he said. “I thought my background would fit into it even if it was in a different industry.”
In 1999, Scott took the plunge and bought Charleston Heart Pine. With construction in his blood, he now owned the sawmill on the edge of the Francis Marion National Forest in the tiny Berkeley County hamlet of Jamestown, about 45 miles north of downtown Charleston.
Frank Parker and Joe Cantley had started the Charleston Heart Pine business in 1984. Five years later, Hurricane Hugo flattened every structure except an old trailer near the front gate. It now serves as the office for the 20-acre business.
The former owners of Heart Pine rebuilt the sawmill, and it thrived for several years after the hurricane, since a ready supply of timber was coming from all the broken trees in the nearby national forest.
After Scott bought the business, nearly three dozen people worked at the sawmill. Then the housing market crashed during the Great Recession.
Exports of materials for doors and window frames to Europe comprised a large part of the company’s business, but they evaporated in the deep downturn.
When the economy started to rebound, Europe looked for a less expensive source of materials, and businesses on the continent switched from southern yellow pine to Russian red pine, Scott said.
“It’s hard to compete when the price is a lot cheaper, even though the product might not be as good,” he said.
The crux of Charleston Heart Pine’s business now, where five people are employed including Scott’s son, is the flooring and furniture business.
Good heart pine needs to be at least 60 to 70 years old, Scott said as he walked among the business’s grounds where piles of massive tree trunks wait to be carved into boards and sheds are stuffed with cut lumber slated to be placed in new homes throughout Charleston, the Palmetto State and other states.
“It’s more difficult to get older trees now,” he said.
Overharvesting since Colonial times nearly vanquished the older long leaf pines with their bounty of center-hardened wood used for many types of construction materials at one time.
Today, it’s not uncommon for companies to use salvaged logs from river bottoms for building materials.
Scott said most of his firm’s stock comes from within a 50-mile radius, but the company also works with mills in other states to ship in older logs and lumber.
While flooring is a company centerpiece, custom-made furniture is a staple as well.
Tables, benches, chairs, mantels and bedframes are among the specialty items.
Of stair treads and handrails, which the company also custom makes, Scott said, “They are very profitable because hardly anyone does it from heart pine.”
And not everything is fashioned from heart pine, the sturdy center that hardens over many years to give long-leaf pine trees their strength and support.
Walnut and white oak are popular choices as well. A cypress log was being split into boards for wall paneling during a recent visit.
Almost all of Heart Pine’s business is by telephone or online orders, but Scott occasionally gets a walk-in visit from someone passing through the tucked-away town of 82 people, where South Carolina highways 41 and 45 converge with U.S. Highway 17A south of the Santee River.
While most of the company’s finished products end up in private homes, a bit of its work is on display at a large software company in Charleston.
When Blackbaud decided to build a new headquarters building on Daniel Island a few years ago, the company wanted to preserve some of the wood at the new construction site.
They reached out to Scott, who transformed some of the pine and oak trees into benches on Blackbaud’s grounds.
“With the benches created by Charleston Heart Pine, our employees, customers and visitors can take in the Lowcountry beauty, while sitting on a piece of wood that was grown on that very land,” said Otto Orr, senior director of global real estate for Blackbaud.
“It’s a beautiful tribute to what makes Charleston a great place to live and work, and we’re so grateful for Charleston Heart Pine’s help in bringing our vision to life,” Orr said.
Scott, now 79, called the benches a good conservation project and one of the many items he takes satisfaction in building from scratch.
“You can see the results of your efforts,” he said. “It’s satisfying to be able to make something that’s somewhat unique.”
To relax, Scott often spends weekends walking on the beach on Sullivan’s Island. In a couple of years, he will turn the business over to his son, Taylor, 39, now the company’s operations manager.
Taylor, who lives within walking distance of the sawmill, said he will be ready when the time comes.
“It’s a big role to fill,” he said. “I will have to fill my role as well as his, and I still have a lot to learn, but we plan to move forward and continue the business.”
Spring is in the air, and with that comes beautiful flowers in bloom everywhere you look.
This week’s winner is Jackie Sunday with a blooming pink flower, and the honorable mentions are Herbert Schiller with a bright image of flowers at Keukenhof Gardens and Dorothy Harris with the creative use of tape and daisies.
Next week’s topic is stripes, one of the most popular patterns in the world.
The rules: Send your best photo to email@example.com by noon Thursday. Include your name, town and where the photo was taken. Add your name and the topic to the file. If you want your photo to be eligible to run in the newspaper, it must be at least 1,500 pixels, not have a commercial watermark and not have been published in another publication.
On Fridays, we first announce the editors’ pick of the week at postandcourier.com/yourphotos and declare a topic for the next week. On Saturdays, we publish an online gallery.
On Sunday, the photo pick of the week will appear in this section, Life.
All photos submitted will be considered for publication in The Post and Courier’s yearly magazine, My Charleston. Some images may be selected for other editorial or noncommercial use.
We reserve the right to not publish any photo for any reason.
FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The historic Jamestown District in Florence County has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The site along East Old Marion Highway played a prominent role for African Americans during the Reconstruction Era.Terry James, director of the Jamestown Foundation, said his great-great-great grandfather Ervin James bought 109 acres of land from two white landowners in 1870.Twenty years later, James' sons bought additional land, bringing the total to 246 acres.“This is ...
FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The historic Jamestown District in Florence County has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The site along East Old Marion Highway played a prominent role for African Americans during the Reconstruction Era.
Terry James, director of the Jamestown Foundation, said his great-great-great grandfather Ervin James bought 109 acres of land from two white landowners in 1870.
Twenty years later, James' sons bought additional land, bringing the total to 246 acres.
“This is one of the first pieces of properties purchased by an African American on a large scale,” James said.
At the time, James said white landowners selling land to African Americans was taboo.
“The landowner had to leave town because the neighborhood, the community at the time, wasn’t acceptable to African Americans owning property,” he said.
However, that didn’t stop Ervin James from making the land his own. The community flourished for 70 years, serving as a safe haven for African Americans.
“Once you came here you didn’t have to worry about anything. It was pretty safe because nobody came here and said, ‘Where’s Joe or John or so and so?’ because they understood if you came here and you wasn’t welcomed you would leave,” James said.
Now, a historic cemetery, several archaeological sites and a Reconstruction Era cabin remain on the settlement.
James said the foundation has been working on the designation for more than 10 years. He added it a couple of years ago, with the help of a University of South Carolina grad student and a hunter, that they were able to find artifacts from the area during its prime.
“We found handmade bricks, we found broken glass, we found shanks off of old plows, we found evidence of blacksmithing,” James said.
The district was officially placed on the register on Oct. 25. James said he found out Nov. 1.
“I was just so happy and joyful and I thought about, you know, my ancestors who worked sweat, blood, tears on this property. I thought about them and I did it for them. I did it for the future generations as well so they’ll have something to say my ancestor was, he was somebody, he wasn’t just a slave person,” he said.
Currently, the foundation is working to get funding to refurbish the cemetery and cabin. Ultimately, they hope the site will be used for educating residents about the history of the area and how life was for African Americans during the Reconstruction Era. James said the projects will cost around $150,000.
“We just want to show the world that, look, these enslaved people were just not a working hand. They were intelligent people, they managed things, they got things done,” he said.
Copyright 2018 WMBF. All rights reserved.
JAMESTOWN — Trevor Goodwin is cutting open packages full of raw wool. In its raw state, the wool is speckled with twigs and dirt and drenched with lanolin, the natural oily wax that sheep produce to protect and waterproof their wool.In fact, the entire massive warehouse smells of lanolin — an earthy, comforting, animal smell, like putting your face in the fur of your favorite dog.Goodwin’s job is one of the first steps in processing greasy wool, as they call it here, into the gleaming white combed wool, called...
JAMESTOWN — Trevor Goodwin is cutting open packages full of raw wool. In its raw state, the wool is speckled with twigs and dirt and drenched with lanolin, the natural oily wax that sheep produce to protect and waterproof their wool.
In fact, the entire massive warehouse smells of lanolin — an earthy, comforting, animal smell, like putting your face in the fur of your favorite dog.
Goodwin’s job is one of the first steps in processing greasy wool, as they call it here, into the gleaming white combed wool, called “wool top,” that is the Chargeurs Wool USA factory’s main product. Wool top is used by spinning mills, many of them based in the Southeast, to spin worsted yarn used in military coats and specialty athletic socks.
With President Donald Trump talking about bringing back American manufacturing, some companies are looking for ways to curb or end their foreign manufacturing operations — and it’s throwing attention on longtime U.S.-based manufacturing like Chargeurs.
“More and more, customers are interested in everything to be made in America,” says Diego Paullier, Chargeurs Wool USA’s managing director and president. “American wool — they can give that a value, an additional value.”
The military is a key customer. One industry expert wrote in a trade journal that the military will buy 60 different items made from wool in 2017, from Army berets to Navy pea coats — 50,000 this year alone — to Air Force dress uniforms. The wool that goes into many of those items will be scoured and combed at Chargeurs.
This huge factory in Jamestown — a tiny town in upper Berkeley County, about an hour from Charleston — processes up to 50 percent of the roughly 26 million pounds of wool shorn from U.S. sheep in any given year. Opened in 1955, it’s the only remaining wool top-making facility in the country.
It’s a throwback in some ways: a reminder of when textile manufacturing was king in South Carolina and mills dotted the state, before the industry largely moved overseas. This isn’t a shiny, modern, highly technical plant like Boeing’s in North Charleston or BMW’s in Greer. Wooly lint clings to every machine and beam. The machines are decades old.
The plant is part of the future, too.
The cheaper cost of automation these days means American manufacturing is starting to be competitive again, says Mark Ferguson, department chair for the management science department at the University of South Carolina.
“It was happening before Trump,” Ferguson says. “I think it’s happening more than most people probably realize. The reason that’s going under-noticed is the manufacturing that’s coming back is not requiring the number of jobs or providing the number of jobs that we historically associate with it.”
That’s true at Chargeurs, where about 60 employees work, spread out over three eight-hour shifts Monday through Friday.
Wool is an old-school fiber — but it’s used these days in technical clothing, like outdoor and military gear. It absorbs liquid without feeling damp or losing its insulating value, which means it wicks sweat and keeps people warm in tough conditions. It’s also antimicrobial, so it doesn’t have to be washed as often.
Federal data shows U.S. wool production has been stable over the past five years, though it dropped in the decade before that.
Overall, the textile industry has become specialized, dealing in fancier fibers and products — think body armor, “smart” fabrics and, actually, wool.
In the wool prep area at Chargeurs’ Jamestown plant, Goodwin feeds wool into the mouth of a large machine.
“He has to follow a recipe — you know, it’s like making a cake,” says Paullier. “You have different components — the sugar, the flour. Here it’s a little bit like that. We blend wools from different states. All wools have a little bit of a difference. One’s longer, one’s whiter.”
Next, the raw wool is tumbled and tossed together in a machine.
This is also the first step in removing the massive amounts of dirt and vegetable matter that sheep accumulate through the business of being sheep. There’s dirt everywhere, being shaken out of the fleeces and removed from the machine on conveyor belts.
The wool is then fed automatically into an enormous washer. The scouring machine is at least 100 feet long and high as a house. Ominous plumes of steam shoot up all over.
Chargeurs saves the lanolin it removes from the fleeces during the washing process. It’s valuable, making its way into cosmetics and more — and it also makes it easier to clean the wastewater if it’s not full of grease.
The chief reason the Chargeurs plant sits on 550 acres of land in a mostly rural area near S.C. Highway 41 is that it has its own wastewater facility for cleaning the masses of dirty water it creates — and wastewater treatment requires lots of space.
After scouring, the wool is dried, then fed through overhead pipes to a series of machines that brush and straighten the wool. Combing will remove still more vegetable matter, neps (little blobs of wool, also called entanglements) and noils (pieces of short fiber).
The combing also makes all the fibers lay parallel to each other. That’s what makes it wool top rather than just carded wool: It’s smooth, ready to be spun into plied yarn.
Meanwhile, the cleaned, dried and combed wool is coiled up into 100-pound balls and shipped to the customer. Chargeurs, a subsidiary of a French company, occasionally imports or exports something, but most of what it sells is to nearby textile mills.
One of the places Chargeurs ships its wool top is just a few hours up the road.
Kentwool was founded in 1843 in Philadelphia — and it’s now based in Greenville, where it employs fewer than 100 people.
Kentwool takes wool top from Chargeurs, combines it with nylon, and spins it into fine yarn. The yarn is then sent to other U.S. companies that knit it into socks. While it has several divisions, Kentwool specializes in performance golf socks — the kind sold at high-end pro shops.
Keith Horn, president of Kentwool, says the company succeeds because it’s not competing directly against overseas production. It’s a different kind of product.
“That’s sort of a misnomer, to compete,” he says. “We’re not looking to put out a run-of-the-mill product, just cheap. We want to make a product that’s top of the line, that fits a niche market.
“You can go buy stuff cheap all day long,” Horn says, “but sometimes you get what you pay for.”
Over the last nine months, a St. Louis-based consulting firm analyzed the market, surveyed the community and came up new ideas for the mall, which now looms vacant and crumbling on a 142-acre site in the middle of North County subdivisions.“It’s a huge piece of property, and it has been a real drag on the area,” said John Maupin, chair of the St. Louis County Port Authority, a county government body that owns the property.The new idea, pitched by the i5Group, leans into St. Louis’ ag-tech sector, which i...
Over the last nine months, a St. Louis-based consulting firm analyzed the market, surveyed the community and came up new ideas for the mall, which now looms vacant and crumbling on a 142-acre site in the middle of North County subdivisions.
“It’s a huge piece of property, and it has been a real drag on the area,” said John Maupin, chair of the St. Louis County Port Authority, a county government body that owns the property.
The new idea, pitched by the i5Group, leans into St. Louis’ ag-tech sector, which includes such industry giants as the German ag and chemicals company Bayer and also research incubators like the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. An annex would provide expansion space for existing firms in the region and could include greenhouses, test plots, offices and a solar array, i5Group found in its analysis. Onsite jobs might be limited, the firm found, but the inexpensive land isn’t far from a skilled workforce. The firm also proposed adding a grocery store, public community space and retail to the development.
Jamestown Mall opened in 1973 at the intersection of North Lindbergh Boulevard and Old Jamestown Road as suburban sprawl grew rapidly in North County. But as residents fled, the mall’s fortunes shifted, and it closed in 2014.
In 2017, the Port Authority bought the site and hammered out a tentative deal with a developer, which fell through when County Executive Steve Stenger was indicted on corruption charges.
Another plan, to develop the site as a distribution center, was scrapped in 2021 amid opposition from Councilwoman Shalonda Webb, who represents the district. Webb said residents overwhelmingly preferred a mixed retail site or community center.
This year, the Port Authority hired i5Group to study its options.
Since February, the firm has held two public forums and six meetings with community organizations, school officials, business owners and others.
The site isn’t competitive for attracting job growth, i5Group found. The surrounding area has a relatively low population and workforce density. And Jamestown Mall isn’t directly served by the nearest interstate, I-270.
The consultants pitched three solutions: A neighborhood with small-scale farming. A neighborhood mixed with senior living. And the ag-tech idea.
Residents who responded to an i5 survey were lukewarm to the first two. But nearly 60% found the ag-tech annex favorable.
Still, the Jamestown Mall site is relatively far from agribusinesses and research organizations, and the industry is still working on training up a workforce, i5 said. And such a development would require cooperation between governments and the ag-tech industry.
The Port Authority will go out to bid within the next few months for demolition, which could begin as early as next spring.