Choosing the right hair salon in Ridgeville, SC, is a little bit like finding the perfect outfit. The materials feel great on your skin, the fabric is flattering to your body type, and when you try it on, you just know - this is the outfit that you have been looking for.
With thousands of hair salons and stylists in South Carolina, choosing the right one can be difficult. You want a salon that is clean, comfortable, and chic. But, more importantly, you need a stylist that "gets" you. Someone who takes the time to understand your preferences, your style, and your personality. You need a stylist who listens, is honest, and has the technical skills to turn your vision into a reality.
An excellent stylist epitomizes all those traits and knows how to adapt to changing beauty trends. They aren't afraid to take on a challenge.
Where the most talented hairstylists in Ridgeville help bring out the beauty in each of our clients. We strive to provide each of our customers with the highest levels of customer service in the beauty industry. At Chroma, we offer a relaxing environment, skillful professionals, and a variety of products with environmentally safe and good-for-you ingredients.
Our goal is to make your salon experience special, from the moment you walk in to the second you leave. With a variety of professional hair and beauty services to choose from, we're sure you will rediscover the "beauty of you" every time you visit our salon.
The key to a great haircut and salon experience is to understand the services we offer, so you can choose the best selection for your needs. What do our salon services entail? Keep reading below to find out.
Let's be honest: DIY hair kits can be tricky to get right. They can be complicated to apply and usually have hard-to-understand instructions. Half the time, the color you're left with looks nothing like it does on the front of the box. In a perfect world, you should be able to pop into Target, pick a boxed hair color, apply it at home, and emerge out of your bathroom with a new, beautiful hair color. For most people, this never happens.
That's why people who want flawless color, professional application, and ease of convenience get their highlights at Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.
Whether you are changing your hair color completely or just want a few highlights to switch things up, we are here to create the look and style that you've been dreaming about. At Chroma Hair Studio & Spa, we specialize in the latest hair coloring trends using cutting-edge technology. That way, our clients get the freshest looks, coolest colors, and longest-lasting highlights in town. When you get your highlights done at our hair salon in Ridgeville, we want you to leave excited and ready to share your new hair all over social.
Don't spend hours in the store trying to find the color you think will look great on you. Our team of professional stylists will consult with you about your vision and craft a custom highlight plan that fits you're your unique style. There's a reason why so many customers trust us with their highlights - we genuinely care about your hair and how it looks.
Our professional hair coloring services in Ridgeville are a combination of art and science. The artistic results only last as long as the hair coloring products used, and we use the best. Our hairstylists and colorists are committed to helping you look and feel fabulous, whether you're planning a special occasion or just want to impress that special someone.
Ever taken a chance on a new look or hair color, only to end up embarrassed and unsatisfied with the results? You're not alone - we get calls every week from people just like you who need hair treatment Ridgeville. Sadly, sometimes even the professionals get a color procedure wrong.
Other times, your hair has suffered from years of blow-drying and straightening, and it looks dry, brittle, and unattractive. You know you need a deep conditioning treatment, and you need it ASAP.
At Chroma Hair Studio & Spa, our technicians have treated all sorts of hair problems - from unprofessional coloring with multiple bands of different colors and tones to dehydrated hair and more. Sometimes, our client's entire hairstyle needs to be corrected. To do this, we stock multiple types of color and toners to revitalize hair and give it the color you've been dreaming of. Our team always puts a priority on the health and integrity of your hair, whether it's your first visit or your fortieth.Appointment Request
Do you ever wake up in the morning and wish that you had fuller, longer eyelashes? You're not alone - thousands of people crave darker, thicker lashes. They settle for what they have, not knowing that a revolutionary lash treatment is waiting for them at Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.
Eyelash extensions have revolutionized fashion culture, saving women untold amounts time and effort in front of the makeup mirror. The great news is that lash extensions aren't just reserved for Hollywood celebrities anymore. Anybody can have the long, fluttery lashes they've been craving, with a trip to our salon.
Eyelash extensions are a fabulous way to enhance your look on a long-term basis and provide you with a small change that makes a huge impact. From the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed, your lashes remain long, sexy, and sultry.
Our eyelash extension specialist works with your existing lashes to apply individual extensions to enhance the natural beauty of your eyes. Using a meticulous application process, we maintain the integrity of your natural lashes so they remain healthy and undamaged.
Whether you're looking for a wispy, effortless look or want your lashes to have mega volume, our lash extension technicians are here to cater to your needs.
Here are just a few reasons why women love our eyelash extension services in Ridgeville:
If you're looking for a cost-conscious way to stand out from the crowd, contact our office today. We'd be happy to tell you more about our eyelash extension process and which lashes work best for your needs.
The Brazilian blowout: you've heard about the new craze, you've seen the stunning results, but haven't had a chance to sit down and receive the treatment yourself. Luckily, Chroma Hair Studio & Spa now offers this sought-after style right here in Ridgeville, from certified Brazilian blowout stylists.
If you suffer from dull, frizzy hair that lacks life and shine, the Brazilian blowout is one of the best ways to get smooth, frizz-free hair. By using cutting-edge bonding technology, this customizable treatment doesn't damage your hair at all. Actually, it improves your hair's health by adding a protective layer of protein that smooths your hair for weeks on end.
This ultra-popular choice offers you a laundry list of benefits, like:
To get the best of both worlds, be sure to schedule your Brazilian blowout and custom hair color treatment in the same appointment. Call us today to learn more about our Brazilian blowouts and to schedule your appointment today.
There are many ways that you can reinvent yourself this season, but if you're ready to make a lasting impression, nothing beats a new hairstyle. While there is nothing wrong with sporting top knots, ponytails, or straight hair, a styled cut from Chroma Hair Studio & Spa will drastically improve your hair game.
Getting a new haircut isn't just fun - it makes you feel good, too, especially when you get a lot of positive compliments.
Our experienced stylists are tapped into today's hottest trends, so if you want to try something new, we're here to help. If you want to play it more traditional, our stylists have a solid foundation of time-tested techniques, to give your existing cut the edge it needs to impress. And sometimes, you need something simple and low-maintenance that cuts down on styling time and primping.
Not sure what kind of a cut you need? We're happy to give you our educated opinion and are happy to provide examples of what we think works. Whatever style you've got your eye on, we can make it a reality!
This cut will look great during the summer and will give you an innocent look that will get plenty of attention. Great for a short-term haircut or even something special for a big party or Gen-X event.
Go against the status quo and let your hair down this season. Pixie cuts and shags are all the rage, but rocking a Rapunzel-like haircut will set you apart from the crowd. If you're looking for a more natural, classic look, this could be your haircut.
If you're looking to switch up your hair color but can't decide between Balayage or Ombre because, well, you don't know the difference - don't worry. You're not alone!
Balayage is a French technique for highlighting the hair in which the dye is painted to create a natural-looking effect. The goal is to create soft, subtle highlights that make your hair look like it's been kissed by the sun.
While Balayage is the technique of painting the hair, Ombre focuses on the style of the hair. It is the transition from a lighter shade to a darker shade. Typically, Ombres work best for brunettes, but the style can is suitable for blondes too. To achieve the effect of an Ombre, there must be a smooth transition between colors. While the Ombre is a beautiful look, you'll need to work with a professional to get the best results.
Luckily, we offer both Ombre and Balayage in Ridgeville, SC! Short on time? Busy schedule? Only available on weekends? Chroma Hair Studio & Spa offers flexible appointment scheduling to accommodate even the busiest clients. You deserve a fresh new style, and we're here to help when the time is right for you.
If you're looking for a hair salon that offers high-end styling without expensive pricing, you're in the right place. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and leave you feeling beautiful, whether you need a touch-up or a total makeover. We offer a relaxing salon atmosphere, skillful stylists, and only the best in professional brands. When it's time for your next haircut, highlight session, or eyelash extension, look no further than Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.Appointment Request
RIDGEVILLE, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This morning, Walmart associates and managers joined local residents and elected officials for the grand opening of Walmart’s highly ...
RIDGEVILLE, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This morning, Walmart associates and managers joined local residents and elected officials for the grand opening of Walmart’s highly anticipated $220 million Import Distribution Center in Ridgeville, S.C. The event featured remarks from Governor Henry McMaster and Mike Gray, SVP Supply Chain Operations, Walmart; as well as a congratulatory video from John Furner, President and CEO, Walmart; and concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“We also strive to be a store of the community and are proud of how we’ve been able to leverage our investments in supply chain to create economic opportunity and jobs for the Dorchester County area.”Tweet this
“Our team of more than 980 associates from Dorchester County and the surrounding communities are excited to officially open the doors to our new Import Distribution Center,” said Jeff Holzbauer, general manager, Import Distribution Center #8980, Walmart U.S. “South Carolina is home to some of the country’s most convenient and efficient modes of transportation, including the Port of Charleston and Interstates 26 and 95. Being a member of this community means having the advantage of the region’s existing infrastructure as well as a pool of experienced associates familiar with it. Cutting this ribbon today signifies our commitment to that community.”
“Walmart has been a long-time partner of South Carolina, and as years have passed, they have continued to double-down on their commitment to our people and reinvest in our state,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “Walmart hasn’t only created thousands of jobs in our state – it has become an integral part of the communities in which it operates. Today’s celebration is the result of our state working hard to be the ideal place to do business and a company recognizing the benefit of having our incredibly skilled workforce and premier ports system in its backyard.”
Business Friendly Location Featuring Deep-Water Access
Dorchester County was selected as an ideal location due to South Carolina’s business friendly environment as well as the proximity to the nearby deep-water Port of Charleston. The new Import Distribution Center will store and sort imported goods that arrive through the Port of Charleston– the country’s eighth-largest port—for delivery to 850 regional Walmart and Sam’s Club locations across the Southeast. Once fully operational, the facility is expected to increase local port volumes by approximately five percent.
“Walmart is the recognized leader in supply chain innovation and performance. Having this world-class company choose our market for their seventh import distribution center is the ultimate vote of confidence in SC Ports and in South Carolina, further solidifying SC Ports as a leader in retail distribution,” SC Ports CEO Jim Newsome said. “The strategic investments we have made in port infrastructure enable SC Ports to support global retailers’ supply chains. We are thrilled to partner with Walmart to further their growth and impact for years to come.”
“We know our customers count on us for a broad assortment, and this new import distribution center will give us expanded access to seaports, in turn allowing us to deliver a wide selection of merchandise from around the globe,” said Mike Gray, SVP Supply Chain Operations, Walmart. “We also strive to be a store of the community and are proud of how we’ve been able to leverage our investments in supply chain to create economic opportunity and jobs for the Dorchester County area.”
Facility Surpasses Initial Hiring Goal
During the grand opening event, Holzbauer shared that the new facility is well on its way of surpassing its initial hiring goal of 1,000. Working alongside the Department of Commerce, Walmart expects to soon employ more than 1,300 local full-time associates at the new facility.
“We are actively staffing Ridgeville with a team that will play an important role in serving our customers,” said Andrew Dale, Senior Director of US Supply Chain People, Walmart U.S. “Walmart is dedicated to the training and development of its associates. Each of the positions we’re currently hiring for in Ridgeville, brings with it a pathway of lifelong career opportunity that with Walmart’s scale has industry changing impact. Walmart is full of everyday people doing extraordinary things.”
Continued Investment in South Carolina Community
During the grand opening ceremony, Walmart celebrated its commitment to the community by proudly presenting $10,000 to Going Places, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to bring joy to kids-in-need through the gift of bicycles.
“Dorchester County is excited to welcome the Walmart Import Distribution Center to Ridgeville. We value Walmart as a partner in community and economic development and appreciate their investment in our area,” said Bill Hearn, Chairman, Dorchester County Council. “A project of this magnitude requires a great deal of coordination, and we thank all of our allies, including the South Carolina Ports Authority, who made this possible.”
The new Ridgeville facility is located at 1030 Timothy Creek Rd. The three million square-foot facility (equivalent in size to 52 football fields) will become Walmart’s first Import Distribution Center in the state of South Carolina to leverage the port.
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2022 revenue of $573 billion, Walmart employs 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart.
About Walmart in South Carolina
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online and through their mobile devices. In South Carolina we serve customers at 122 retail units and online through Walmart Online Grocery, Walmart.com and our family of brands. We are proud to employ more than 35,000 associates in South Carolina. Walmart supports local businesses, spending $1.6 billion with South Carolina suppliers in FYE 2021 and supporting more than 22,000 South Carolina supplier jobs. Walmart continues to be a leader in employment opportunity, sustainability, and corporate philanthropy. In FY21, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation contributed more than $15 million in cash and in-kind donations to local nonprofits in South Carolina. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting our corporate website and our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels.
DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Authorities are investigating following a grisly discovery along a South Carolina road where the bodies of three dogs were found in dog food bags.People who live on Wright Road in a rural area near Givhans and Ridgeville say it’s a sad and disgusting problem.They have seen more than one dead dog stuffed into old dog food bags on the side of the road recently.“About three weeks ago, I saw a bag and saw two dogs sticking out of it. And I didn’t know if they were puppies or...
DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Authorities are investigating following a grisly discovery along a South Carolina road where the bodies of three dogs were found in dog food bags.
People who live on Wright Road in a rural area near Givhans and Ridgeville say it’s a sad and disgusting problem.
They have seen more than one dead dog stuffed into old dog food bags on the side of the road recently.
“About three weeks ago, I saw a bag and saw two dogs sticking out of it. And I didn’t know if they were puppies or grown dogs, and they were in a black dog food bag. And then two weeks later, there was another bag with another dog sticking out...this is getting out of control,” said Crystal Perez who lives on Wright Road.
Perez said she and a neighbor took pictures of what they saw and started a conversation in a local Facebook group.
Perez has seen multiple dogs in different stages of decay lying near or still in the dog food bags. She says the people who live on the road are a tight knit community and they all know about the problem.
“We have a lot of kids on this road, and I don’t want them to see things like that. So it’s disgusting,” Perez said. “My little nieces are two and five years old down...and I don’t want them to see things like that.”
Some neighbors, who declined a formal interview, explained some of the land on Wright Road is hunting property. Those neighbors believe the dogs are hunting dogs, and someone possibly leaving the bodies in the ditches along the road.
Dorchester County Animal Control is investigating the situation, and sent two officers out to the area on Monday.
The incident report states that the officers found three bodies of deceased dogs along the road, one was decomposing while the other two were skeletal remains. The officers reported they did attempt to scan the dogs for microchips to attain information, however none of them had been chipped.
Animal Control officials said anyone with information is asked to call (843) 832-0015.
Perez says it’s upsetting people in the neighborhood, and they want to put a stop to it for the sake of the animals and the people who live there.
“I’m an animal lover and I cannot take that kind of stuff,” Perez said.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
RIDGEVILLE — There are two ways that families spell the last name Coburn. There’s “Coburn” as in Coburn Town Road and there’s also “Cobin.”Ethel Cooke, a lifelong resident in the predominately Black community, said her parents told her the mix-up probably comes from some of the neighborhood’s ancestors who were sharecroppers.“They couldn’t read or write,” she said.So the name was spelled on records however it ended up being pronounced.As Cooke sits,...
RIDGEVILLE — There are two ways that families spell the last name Coburn. There’s “Coburn” as in Coburn Town Road and there’s also “Cobin.”
Ethel Cooke, a lifelong resident in the predominately Black community, said her parents told her the mix-up probably comes from some of the neighborhood’s ancestors who were sharecroppers.
“They couldn’t read or write,” she said.
So the name was spelled on records however it ended up being pronounced.
As Cooke sits, telling stories about the community of Coburn Town, the one about the names makes her and others smile. It’s part of what makes this place special — the shared history — and a symbol of what could be lost as growth starts to transform the area.
“We don’t know what’s coming,” said Elizabeth Crum Huffman, another lifelong resident.
Located off School Street, the Coburn Town community is surrounded by trees, open fields, a railroad track and a closed sawmill. Many of the original Black residents saved money and purchased land in the area following the end of slavery.
Nearly 180 acres surrounding the community were recently approved for rezoning by Dorchester County Council. Those rezoned parcels, including the old Ashley River Lumber Co., will now fall under what the county refers to as commercial light-industrial.
Officials expect it likely will soon hold a warehouse, but no development plans have been approved.
It’s one piece of a larger list of changes that highlights Ridgeville as an area of growth. Other indicators include new housing developments, road projects and industrial spaces like the Walmart Distribution Center.
But with a question mark around its future, community members are reflecting even more on what the quiet and familiar community means to them and what it meant to their ancestors who purchased the land to have something of their own.
Though it’s been years since farming was the main source of income in the community, it’s still possible to see some of its agricultural roots.
There are open fields that sit on the edges and the rusted fences that used to hold livestock.
Take away the paved roads and some of the home renovations. Picture in its place a couple of wagons, tobacco and potato fields and mules, and it’s easy to imagine what the place looked like when Black residents first poured into it.
Walking down Coburn Town Road, Huffman and her sister Virginia Crum said they can remember having to do farming chores as children and just tossing all of the seeds in the field without any order.
Harvest time would usually give them away, they said laughing.
Their father, Willie Kizer Crum Sr., and mother, Hermena Robinson Crum, had 10 children: seven girls and three boys. The couple married in the 1940s. Willie’s father was a sharecropper.
Virginia Crum, a retired educator, said their father bought the land they live on now. Some of the things she remembers the most about him is he didn’t like buying things on credit and always paid in cash.
Down the street lives James Wesley Duggins Jr., a 78-year-old man who grew up in Coburn Town.
Standing outside working in his yard, he laughed about how annoying the nearby railroad can be with the sound of trains coming through.
His father, James Wesley Duggins Sr., helped build the railroad tracks. “Look now, the machines do all that,” Duggins said.
His family moved to the area around the 1920s.
While talking with the sisters, he reminded Crum she integrated Ridgeville Elementary when she was in the first grade. She was born in 1959.
“There’s so much history,” Crum said.
And while there are tons of happy memories, like playing baseball around some of the farm animals and staying over at each others’ houses, the community also remembers how their elders struggled.
There were times as children when they had to run through the woods to avoid White children throwing rocks, Duggins said.
Huffman and Crum’s mother often had to travel as far as Charleston to sell goods because the White residents in Ridgeville at the time severely underpaid them, they said.
“We had some strong Black people in the community,” Crum said.
Cooke remembers being a child and having a White boy spit at her when they were in town one day.
“I said, ‘Daddy, that ain’t right,’ ” Cooke said. Her father, she recalled, encouraged her to let it go for her own safety.
She also remembers sitting outside and working in a yard for a family for whom her grandmother cooked and cleaned. She wasn’t allowed to come inside the home.
After working in the yard, Cooke laughed and said all she got for it was an orange dress. “And it had a hole in it,” she said.
She said she can’t imagine what her grandmother was paid.
“We came up the hard way,” Cooke said.
There was a time when everyone in their community was a Coburn-Cobin. But with different marriages, other names started to appear.
Two of Crum and Huffman’s aunts married into the Coburn-Cobin family. One of the aunts married Cooke’s grandfather.
Outside of marriages, they said, the community has always felt like one big family that supported each other.
When Cooke’s family was struggling when she was raised, she said, Huffman and Crum’s father would routinely give them potatoes to help them get by.
No one really knew or talked about it.
“Now you borrow sugar and the whole city would know it,” Cooke said.
On Nov. 1, as 180 acres surrounding Coburn Town was rezoned to commercial-light industrial, community members and descendants poured in to raise their concerns.
Many noted the things they wanted to see. Crum emphasized helping the schools and adding facilities like health and community centers. Huffman said she would love to see more sidewalks because she enjoys a daily walk.
Tim Lewis and Felicia Cobin can trace their history in the area as far back as 1829. Rebecca Cobin was buried near the community in the late 1940s. She was born in 1883.
“We really want to look at how we can grow together,” Lewis said. “There’s history here.”
Ridgeville’s growth has been a big topic in the past couple of years. Federal funds around COVID-19 relief will bring $6.8 million in roadway improvements around the Ridgeville Industrial Campus.
At the same campus, a Walmart Distribution Center is slated to bring hundreds of jobs to the area, increasing truck traffic.
The county is also expanding water access. Many Coburn Town residents use wells.
In conjunction with new housing developments, there’s a lot more movement in the Ridgeville area.
Dorchester County Councilman David Chinnis said many things the community wants depend on rooftops. No development plans have been approved around the rezoned property near Coburn Town.
“We don’t know what’s being built there,” Chinnis said.
He encouraged residents to continue their involvement. But whatever comes, he said, the goal would be to protect the community with features like buffers.
The county is also looking to start working on a Ridgeville/Givhans Area Growth Management Plan. The plan has one more layer of council approval to go through before work can start on creating it.
The goal with the plan is to raise awareness about infrastructure concerns and funding. Local community members hope to be a part of the planning process. “Understand that this community is growing,” Chinnis said.
And while a lot of the area community members are still wary, many said they still plan to keep pressing on the council to protect the community.
Feelings around growth in Coburn Town are mixed.
Some are nervous with the uncertainty about what’s to come and what it means about preserving their land and history.
“I was able to share that history with my children,” said Taneeka Wright.
Her grandfather, John Henry Pinckney, was a welder and mechanic who lived in Coburn Town. Her grandmother, Ethel Mae Pinkney, was a cook.
She said she enjoyed showing her children around the community and how she grew up. She remembers having to invent games with friends and families because there weren’t a lot of things to play with.
“And I would love to share that history with my grandchildren,” she said.
Others in the community are pessimistic and said they know significant change is inevitable.
“It’s not going to be the same anymore,” said Franklin Pinckney, a lifelong resident and a local high school football star at the old Harley-Ridgeville High School.
All he said he remembers now are the body aches.
“It’s not going to be the same anymore,” he said thinking about the future and the thought of hearing loud trucks and movement in a community that tends to be quiet and slow.
One resident said he doesn’t have any fear.
“I like to try and be real,” said Wendell Coburn, 81.
Coburn manages his dementia and lives with his wife Betty, 71. With his condition, Betty is still able to communicate with him and help him have conversations with people.
Community members said he might struggle with the present but he can still hold conversations about the past.
Wendell built their Coburn Town Road home more than 40 years ago. He was raised by a single mother who had to walk 3 miles to work.
He’s known in the community as being someone who was always willing to lend a helping hand without even being asked. Residents said the influence of his mother and the community is all over him. “They preserved him for me,” Betty said with a laugh.
She married into the community.
To Wendell, community connection and talking with people are important. He describes Corburn Town as a community of caring.
When asked to spell his last name, Wendell makes sure people know it’s with the “urn” and not the “in.”
“If you can’t communicate with people, you’re doing nothing,” he said.
In a 1900 census interview of Ransom Coburn it points to the Coburn-Cobin family origin being in Virginia around the Jamestown area.
The descendants believe they came to South Carolina either for work collecting turpentine or constructing the railroads.
Volvo Cars’ Ridgeville plant is ready to ramp up production with a major hiring push, but finding the right talent as the company expands has been an ongoing challenge.When Volvo established its Lowcountry operations in 2015, the company looked to South Carolina as a robust manufacturing economy with experienced laborers. However, with a 3% unemployment rate at the time, the majority of the experienced individuals were already employe...
Volvo Cars’ Ridgeville plant is ready to ramp up production with a major hiring push, but finding the right talent as the company expands has been an ongoing challenge.
When Volvo established its Lowcountry operations in 2015, the company looked to South Carolina as a robust manufacturing economy with experienced laborers. However, with a 3% unemployment rate at the time, the majority of the experienced individuals were already employed, Berkeley County Economic Development Director Kristen Lanier said.
Growing a new skilled workforce from the ground up has been a diligent process for the company, but both Volvo and South Carolina continue to prove their commitment to making it work.
Volvo Car Charleston Plant Manager David Stenström spoke about the company’s progress to a crowd of Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce members Nov. 19 at Trident Technical College. Stenström shared that he is optimistic that the labor challenges are short-term given South Carolina’s commitment to training solutions.
When one teacher off-the-cuff asked if Stenström would be willing to collaborate with educators to find instructors for manufacturing classes, and also to help generate awareness in local K-12 schools, the plant manager didn’t hesitate to say yes, even if he doesn’t quite have the “how to” solution yet.
“I’m not worried that we will not find the competence in the schools, especially with the universities,” he said.
A strong talent pool will be needed for years to come as Volvo works toward its production capacity of 150,000 vehicles annually. Still ramping up to its goal, Ridgeville produced 26,500 vehicles from the S60 luxury sedan line in 2020, a year plagued with pandemic-related and supply chain challenges.
Moving forward, Volvo’s ambitions are to electrify 50% of the company’s fleet, with the remainder coming from hybrid models. That means, on top of manufacturing the gas and hybrid versions of the S60, the Volvo Cars Ridgeville facility will produce two additional electric vehicle lines: the still unnamed next generation XC90 and the Polestar 3, an SUV. The vehicles produced in South Carolina will primarily be sold in the U.S. and European markets.
As a global company, the Swedish automotive manufacturer has two plant concepts: produce 30 jobs an hour or 60 jobs an hour. Sweden and Belgium manufacture 60 cars an hour, which accumulates to 300,000 cars a year. The goal for the still up-and-coming U.S. and China plants is to reach 30 a day as soon as possible, Stenström said.
“For me as a plant manager, my job is to be in that category by being competitive and getting to the top,” Stenström said.
Joining Volvo in 1995, Stenström relocated to the U.S. from China to helm the South Carolina plant starting in January 2021. But he’s still getting used to the cultural changes, particularly in the workforce — especially since there is no other Volvo plant in the U.S.
In China, employees worked 11-hour shifts, six days a week and commonly sought overtime. Here in the U.S., especially in the Lowcountry, quality of life is sometimes prioritized over work, Stenström thinks.
Volvo’s Ridgeville facility also appeared to have high turnover rates in comparison to China’s, but Lanier said turnover is a loosely defined term when comparing plants in two different countries and cultures. Turnover rates in Ridgeville are normal for the industry in the U.S.
South Carolina organizations are doing their best to bridge the labor gap and train workers, whether through technical colleges, trade schools, certification programs or planting the seed for manufacturing careers in K-12.
The hope is for Volvo to hire talent in Berkeley County, or at least within South Carolina, Lanier said.
The efforts to hire in-state are what sparked ManuFirst, a manufacturing training program Volvo helped create curriculum for. Completing the program equals one year of manufacturing experience. To-date, Berkeley County has paid more than $400,000 in scholarships to county residents to provide ManuFirst training, Lanier said.
The Charleston Regional Development Alliance is another organization that works to support Volvo, particularly bringing suppliers closer. David Ginn, CRDA president and CEO, said it’s a dance of timing, where production volumes and investment level have to meet.
Ginn said the CRDA has worked collectively with suppliers for years, but until the volumes are such that they can justify investment, they might not come. “And these OEMs, they don’t want to ask the companies to come, because if they fail then they’re liable to them potentially," he said.
Under Stenström’s lead, Volvo has seen an increase in localization of suppliers, but ideally he’d like to see 90% of all materials used at the plant be produced in North America.
“For me, you need to produce where you sell, but you also need to source where you produce,” Stenström said.
Ginn likened the supplier situation to the Mercedes-Benz Vans plant in Ladson, where the company originally invested $40 million in Sprinter Van assembly. Vehicles were manufactured in Dusseldorf, disassembled and shipped to the U.S., and then re-assembled in South Carolina to reduce costs for importing completed vehicles.
Once the local plant reached volume, Mercedes-Benz promised to invest another $500 million into an original equipment manufacturing facility, and true to its word, the company upped its commitment a decade later.
“The same with Volvo,” Ginn said. “As sales grow, suppliers will feel comfortable coming.”
Once there, the next step will be identifying key players that need to come to South Carolina.
Battery producers for the electric vehicles is at the top of Stenström’s list. Currently, batteries are shipped from China to the U.S., which given the hazardous materials, premium prices and shipping issues, costs upward of hundreds of millions of dollars “for no reason,” he said. Manufacturing batteries nearby would not only be significantly cheaper, but would be less of a transport risk and could see delivery shrink down to a day or two.
“You will see a lot of conversations in the future, talking localization from a headquarters point of view,” he said.
To round out preparation on a county level, Lanier said Berkeley County needs to repopulate its warehouse product with sites and buildings that are ready for those suppliers.
“The coronavirus actually expedited a lot of the real estate absorption that we saw last year,” she said of Berkeley County’s 3 million square feet of industrial space. “A lot of our premium spots along I-26, those speculative buildings were queuing up for Volvo suppliers that were taken down for distribution warehouses, and now we find ourselves trying to replenish and identify new spots for when Volvo suppliers do start coming.”
Stenström thinks they will. Like a Volvo car, he just needs to drive with a smooth and steady hand until Ridgeville gets there.
Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.
RIDGEVILLE — One of Dorchester County’s soon to be even-busier roads has been awarded millions in funding.The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded nearly $7 million to the county to fund the widening of a portion of S.C. Highway 27, also known as Ridgeville Road.Between the road’s connection to Interstate 26 and the Ridgeville Industrial Campus, S.C. 27 will be widened from two to five lanes. This comes after the county announced the upcoming arrival of a Walmart ...
RIDGEVILLE — One of Dorchester County’s soon to be even-busier roads has been awarded millions in funding.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded nearly $7 million to the county to fund the widening of a portion of S.C. Highway 27, also known as Ridgeville Road.
Between the road’s connection to Interstate 26 and the Ridgeville Industrial Campus, S.C. 27 will be widened from two to five lanes. This comes after the county announced the upcoming arrival of a Walmart Distribution Center to the industrial campus.
The center is slated to bring more than 1,000 jobs to the area, as well as hundreds of spaces for trucks. This means more traffic for the already heavily used highway.
“The timing of the EDA grant could not have been better,” said County Council Chairman Bill Hearn.
He also said they hope the improvements will alleviate traffic off of the smaller roads that residents frequent.
The funding comes as part of the EDA’s CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant program.
John Truluck, the county’s economic development director, said the administration would only award a maximum of $2 million prior to the pandemic.
The CARES Act, a federal coronavirus aid bill, provided the Economic Development Administration with $1.5 billion in COVID-19 relief funding.
Truluck said, with the additional funding, the administration increased the maximum amount in grants and also opened the program up to projects that didn’t involve job creation.
The county applied for the funds in July 2020 to help with the estimated $8 million project. This was before the Walmart Distribution Center was announced.
In addition to the road-widening, officials said the S.C. 27 improvements will also be an opportunity to expand access to the county’s public water system. The Dorchester Reach, a more than 10-mile water line between the town of Harleyville and the Ridgeville Industrial Park, was completed in 2020.
But, as the Ridgeville area has started to see growth, residents have raised concerns over the increase in traffic. Some of the biggest worries have been increased road damage and unrepaired potholes.
Kenneth Green lives off of S.C. 27 on Jared Lane. He said there have been times when large holes have remained on the two-lane road for months. So the improvements are needed, he said.
Most of the road damage that’s present, he said, comes from the already heavy truck traffic the road sees. The distribution center will add to it.
“You get all kinds of trucks coming through here,” he said.
There are also plans to widen I-26 near its intersection with S.C. 27. In addition, the county is working on a nearly $30 million major improvement project for U.S. Highway 78.
The highway sits next to the industrial campus.
Officials said the overall goal with the projects is to get ahead of the notable increase in traffic that’s expected with the opening of the Walmart Distribution Center by April 2022.