Winnsboro Fibers expanding

WINNSBORO – The former DuraFiber Technologies mill in Winnsboro is getting another shot at life.

Fairfield County Council recently approved an ordinance certifying the Maple Street property as an abandoned textile mill. The vote passed unanimously on June 10.

County Administrator Jason Taylor said Winnsboro Fibers, the facility’s current owner, plans to refurbish parts of the property, and wants to use state tax credits to help accomplish that. The abandoned designation allows the company to apply for those credits that will be reinvested into the property.

In time, the company hopes to add some new facilities and make additional hires, Taylor said.

“The state tax credits will allow them to invest in the facility to get it back to where it’s productive,” Taylor said.

At second reading on May 24, Ty Davenport, the county’s economic development director, explained the ordinance in greater detail.

Davenport said Winnsboro Fibers approached the county, seeking support for the company’s rehabilitation plans.

Winnsboro Fibers plans to invest upwards of $6 million in the facility. The company currently employs about 19 workers, though Davenport remained optimistic more jobs could be created.

“Hopefully in the future they’ll be able to add a second and third shift and add more people,” he said. “That [would] be a good thing for the county and for the town of Winnsboro.

Winnsboro Fibers’ plans call for demolishing part of Plant 1 and leaving the weave room intact. Davenport said the company plans add ons to the building, though the additions wouldn’t be readily visible.

Plant 2 and the administration building would remain intact. There are also plans to rehabilitate the plant’s iconic clock tower.

“The facility was in fact a textile facility,” Davenport said. “All we’re doing is confirming and support their intent to rehabilitate the facility.”

In addition to jobs, reinvigorating the plant could also help boost utility revenue, Davenport said.

Winnsboro utility officials previously estimated the plant’s closure would cost the town between $400,000 and $441,000 in lost revenue per year, including $256,247 in lost gas revenues, according to a July 20, 2017 story in The Voice.

Winnsboro Fibers acquired the mill from DuraFiber Technologies, paying $839,000 for the property in October 2017, according to Fairfield County property records.

DuraFiber Technologies declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2017. It operated three plants, including the Winnsboro facility. It employed around 800 people at all three locations, including 220 in Winnsboro.

More than a century old, the Winnsboro property has housed several companies, including Uniroyal Goodrich Tire, Michelin North America and Invista.