Enor Corp. Shutting Down

WINNSBORO (Sept. 22, 2016) – The days of Enor Corp., the toy manufacturing plant that opened its doors at 1 Quality Lane in Winnsboro in the fall of 2014, are apparently numbered, according to the company’s headquarters in Northvale, N.J.

“We have stopped production there,” a source within the company’s N.J. headquarters, who wished not to be identified, told The Voice this week. “We are still open, but we have moved all the machinery out.”

The source said Enor plans to close down the site for good within the next three months.

“The building is for sale,” the source said. “It should already be sold. We don’t have the final contract yet.”

A review this week of Fairfield County’s tax records shows the building to still be owned by Enor Corp.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December. In documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey, the manufacturer of toys and games said they faced more than $5 million in liabilities, while claiming only $248,659 in assets with cash, cash equivalents and financial assets totaling just over $11,595.

Shortly after the bankruptcy documents were filed, a spokesperson with the company told The Voice that Enor had no plans to shut down operations in Winnsboro. This week, however, the company’s tone had changed.

“It just wasn’t a profitable business for us (at the Winnsboro location),” the unidentified source said. “We had heavy losses there.”

Enor was introduced to Fairfield County in August 2014. Recruited to the area by Fairfield County Council and the S.C. Department of Commerce under the code name “Project Leprechaun,” Enor received a $300,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant from the S.C. Coordinating Council for Economic Development. Those funds were used to retrofit the 78,000-square-foot former Ruff & Tuff building at 1 Quality Lane, off Highway 321 S. Operations at the Winnsboro location began a month later.

A spokesperson with the Department of Commerce said this week that since the $300,000 grant went to retrofitting the building and not to the company itself, there would be no recovery of those funds.

“Hopefully, Fairfield County will be able to move another business into that site,” the spokesperson said. “The (grant) was for the building. Whether the company stays or goes, the building is still there. It is still a marketable building.”

The company was also the beneficiary of a Fee-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (FILOT) agreement with the County. Under the agreement, Enor committed to invest a minimum of $2,500,000 in economic development property and a minimum of $3,870,000 in property subject to ad valorem taxation over a 20-year period. Enor also agreed to create at least 151 new full-time jobs at the plant over a five-year span.

Enor’s payments to the County in lieu of taxes were capped at a 403.5 mills, with a 6 percent assessment ratio on economic development property.

Bankruptcy proceedings are not listed in the FILOT documents among the terms of default. A cessation of operations, including a closure of the plant or cessation of productions and shipment of products to customers for a continuous period of 12 months, however, is. A default on a FILOT agreement could mean the company is subject to what is commonly referred to as “claw-backs,” or the recovery by the State or the County of incentives provided to the company to entice them to set up shop in Winnsboro.

But, according to Michelle Mishoe of the S.C. Department of Revenue’s Manufacturing & Property Division, which oversees FILOT agreements in the state, Enor’s FILOT never had time to kick in.

“A company has three years (to begin production),” Mishoe said, at which time the FILOT would take effect. “They have to file a return for us to track. Once they file, we make sure they’re meeting their statutory requirements. We have no knowledge of them actually ever being in production. It’s possible they never produced a single toy there. The FILOT does not start until they start claiming for income tax purposes.”

Enor Corp., in business in Winnsboro for a little more than a year, never progressed to the point of filing a tax return.

Ty Davenport, Fairfield County’s Economic Development Director, said the property at 1 Quality Lane was on the books as assessed at 6 percent before Enor took up residence there. Enor paid their required 6 percent property taxes in 2015, Davenport said, and they met their required minimum investment and hires as well.

“They did hire the people they were supposed to hire,” Davenport said. “They just laid them off just as quickly.”

Enor was in line for a 25 percent tax credit from the County, Davenport said, but did not remain in production long enough to get it.

“They never got any advantage for us to take back,” Davenport said, “so it’s a wash. What we get out of it is a building (that can be marketed), which has been upfitted.”