After years of economic hardship, MLILY USA mattress company brings 250 jobs to Fairfield County

Updated: Dec. 19, 2019 at 5:52 PM EST
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WINNSBORO, S.C. (WIS) - A global mattress company is bringing 250 jobs and investing close to $50 million in Fairfield County as it takes over a factory that has sat empty for nine years.

MLILY USA is a mattress and pillow company headquartered in China.

The company has spent the last year renovating the plant off of U.S. 321 in Winnsboro. In doing so, it has also installed equipment to manufacture, fabricate and distribute mattresses -- including springs, memory foam and other proprietary foams.

The plant was previously home to Guardian Building Products.

As of December, about 60 people are employed at the factory. The company said by December 2020, it hopes to have a total of 250 employees and to be making 60,000 mattresses a month.

Within the next six months, it plans to be operating at full capacity.

“The facility was great, it’s exactly what we were looking for,” Stephen Chen, President of MLILY USA, said. “We had to do a little retooling, but the county and the government around here was great to work with, really helping us get what we needed to do, so it was a natural fit for us.”

In recent years, Fairfield County has endured economic hardship and job loss.

Last year, the county’s hospital closed, and the only Walmart shuttered its doors three years ago. Several industrial companies have come and gone.

Perhaps the biggest letdown happened when SCEG canceled its plans to expand the V.C. Summer nuclear plant, which resulted in almost 6,000 workers losing their jobs abruptly.

But MLILY’s ribbon cutting on Thursday is the second large investment the county has seen in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the county announced Pharmacy-Lite Packaging purchased the vacant Walmart building, investing $2.9 million and creating 33 jobs.

“The more industrial development we can get and the more jobs we can create for our citizens, then the better it’s going to make Winnsboro and more attractive to live,” Roger Gaddy, mayor of the Town of Winnsboro, said.

MLILY invested a total of $45 million into the restoration of the factory and installation of equipment and invested an additional $3 million in pollution control. The county will tax the $45 million, which county officials said will have a positive, trickle-down effect county-wide.

“The result of MLILY being here is we’ll see a reduction in crime, we’ll see improvement in schools and an overall improvement in the quality of life of people who live here,” Ty Davenport, Director of the Fairfield County Economic Development, said.

James Ni, chairman and chief executive officer of Healthcare Co., Ltd. -- the parent company of MLILY USA -- added: “This is an exciting time for our company as we continue to grow in the United States. Our U.S. customers will now be able to get their products from Winnsboro, made by American workers. The investment in this factory allows us to develop and supply MLILY products that appeal to U.S. consumers and provides us with the opportunity to expand our product reach in this country.”

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