Another gut punch: Midlands county bracing for more layoffs

Another gut punch: Midlands county bracing for more layoffs

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) - At his family barber shop in downtown Winnsboro, Clarence Pauling is confident despite recent headlines of layoffs and hard economic times.

"Winnsboro has survived a lot," he said. "We've survived since, pretty much, the beginning of time. And country folks just have that thing about them. We are survivors."

But, that survival instinct is being put to the test right now.

"A lot of our community is leaving, because they have to go out and find jobs," Pauling said.

In January 2016, the town's Walmart closed.

Two weeks ago, thousands were laid off when a nuclear expansion at nearby V.C. Summer nuclear station was suddenly abandoned.

RELATED: See photos from the now shuttered V.C. Summer site.

Now, another gut-punch is seemingly just around the corner. DuraFiber, a company that manufactures the material used to create tires, is preparing to close in just about a month.

"People at DuraFiber made a home at DuraFiber," Pauling said. "People that worked there had been 30 or 40 years. Now, all of a sudden, they without a job."

Fairfield County Administrator Jason Taylor said the historic DuraFiber plant will soon go idle unless the company can find a buyer.

"It's been a difficult time for Fairfield County," Taylor said.

State records show the plant will begin laying off 240 people around Sept.11.

The county administrator and others believe the impact could be just as brutal as V.C. Summer's layoffs. It might even create a more direct impact on the small town.

"It would have the most direct because most of those people live here in the county and in Winnsboro," the county administrator said. "The 6,000 that work at V.C. Summer – they're spread more around the Midlands: Richland County, Newberry County, a lot live over in Chapin."

Taylor said he's been working with economic development staff almost non-stop to do whatever they can to erase the layoffs by attracting new jobs, but right now, a lack of infrastructure is standing in the way.

A lack of hope is not.

"We will not only survive, we will thrive," said Taylor. "We will move forward."

As for V.C. Summer, county leaders are still hoping some of the projects can be revived. They want answers from SCANA.

According to Taylor, SCANA's CEO, Kevin Marsh, will attend a Monday night county council meeting and participate in an executive session.

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