NEWBERRY COUNTY, SC (WIS) - People in and around Newberry have had a little time to think about it and they are still excited.
Wednesday's announcement that the Samsung corporation will take over the now-vacated Caterpillar plant property in the Newberry County Industrial Park, turning the massive building into a manufacturing operation for Samsung home appliances.
The $380 million investment is expected to generate 954 jobs by the year 2020. Caterpillar's closing eliminated about 300 jobs.
Main Street merchants are hoping to see an uptick in customer traffic. At the restaurant called Figaro behind the Newberry Opera House, manager Jacqueline Hart says Caterpillar's loss was noticeable.
"People were really worried about it," Hart says. "The talk has been ever since they left, who will be coming? You know, people have been really excited to get someone else there. Because we noticed a little bit of a decline."
Hart says the restaurant had hosted attorneys and Samsung executives as the deal began to take shape. At the historic Clarence T. Summer hardware store, owner Bill Shull says the empty plant site had been troubling Newberry's business community.
"I'm elated that big structure is being utilized, " Shull said as he stood near the store's pot-bellied stove and a dizzying array of vintage merchandise.
"(Samsung) will attract other industries. There's always satellite companies that usually follow major manufacturers. Which helps the Newberry economy and South Carolina too."
Samsung indicated Wednesday operations at the plant site will be underway by next year.