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A business incubator at Spartanburg Community College that opened nearly 10 years ago and helped dozens of Upstate companies get off the ground yielded its latest graduate on Tuesday.
Brose Company comes to Spartanburg
BMW parts supplier Brose North America announced it will invest $6 million and create 60 jobs at a new facility in Duncan that will open by next August.
Brose, currently occupying 10 office spaces at the community college's business incubator at the Tyger River campus in Duncan, will be moving into a 77,000-square-foot facility at 1171 Howell Road.
Based in Auburn Hills, Mich., Brose North America (pronounced Bro-Zay) chose Spartanburg for its fourth U.S. manufacturing facility due to its closeness to its largest customer, BMW, according to Brose Spartanburg plant manager Michael Morgenroth.
The Spartanburg plant will produce systems for lightweight carrier doors and on-demand control for air supply cooling. The company claims its lightweight door carriers help boost the car’s fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
“Companies like Brose can operate anywhere in the world,” said S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt. “They chose Spartanburg, South Carolina. We’re a perfect fit for Brose.”
The news was announced at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for SCC’s new Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development, which has 22 office spaces. Twenty of the spaces are already occupied, SCC President Henry Giles Jr. said.
Giles recalled when the center first opened in 2007 with high hopes. It was a partnership between county council, the chamber of commerce and the community college, he said.
Today, it's "a world-class operating incubator" for startups and existing businesses, said Mike Forrester, SCC's director of economic development.
Hitt credited Spartanburg County Council for its support of economic development and making businesses like Brose feel welcome.
“This is revenue,” Hitt said. “It’s well-invested and will bring great dividends.”
Officials said Brose is already hiring for new positions. Details are on the company’s website.
Councilman David Britt spoke of how 25 to 30 years ago, some 25,000 area jobs were lost when textile companies closed and moved to Mexico, India or China. That all changed when BMW came more than 20 years ago and other companies followed, he said.
“The reason we’re doing this is to offer people in Spartanburg and the Upstate jobs,” Britt said. “If you have a job, you have hope and opportunity.”
Hitt spoke on behalf of Gov. Nikki Haley, who did not attend. But Haley issued a statement in support of the project.
“Our automotive industry is truly one of the driving forces behind South Carolina’s economic growth, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Brose to our family,” she stated. “This nearly $6 million investment and the more than 60 jobs it means for Spartanburg County will make a huge difference in the Upstate and is a reason to celebrate across the state.”
Following the ceremony, SCC officials gave tours of the incubator’s offices, classrooms and warehouse space.
Hitt called the incubator a “soft landing pad” concept designed to promote and house new economic development projects in the region.
“A unique business strategy, landing pads allow companies to build a core while they ramp up operations in South Carolina,” he said.
The auto parts supplier was founded in 1908 in Berlin, Germany, by Max Brose. Today Brose has more than 24,000 employees at 60 locations in 23 countries. In addition to lightweight door carriers and systems for on-demand control of cooling air, Brose manufactures window regulators, door modules and seat systems.