The Catch-Up: Nephron cuts ribbon at glove plant, plans to begin production this month

By Jordan Lawrence and Kailee Kokes
Posted 12/14/22

Nephron Nitrile will soon be on its way to producing 2.1 billion gloves per year.

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The Catch-Up: Nephron cuts ribbon at glove plant, plans to begin production this month


Nephron Nitrile will soon be on its way to producing 2.1 billion gloves per year.

Lou Kennedy, Nephron Pharmaceuticals' CEO, touted the eventual production capacity of the company’s new protective glove plant at a ribbon cutting Dec. 7. 

The company confirmed to the Chronicle that the factory, located just down the street in Saxe Gotha Industrial Park from Nephron’s headquarters, is still on track to begin production this month.

Hiring figures for the plant mentioned by Kennedy and Nephron have ranged from 200 to 350. At the ribbon cutting, Kennedy said that more than 1,000 people have worked on the site to get the 440,000-square-foot factory ready to go.

As she has throughout the leadup to Nephron Nitrile’s opening, Kennedy emphasized the importance of the U.S. not relying on other countries for medical supplies, particularly personal protective equipment, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We're far too dependent on foreign sources for the things that we need to keep America moving,” she said.

Among those joining Kennedy on stage before a large crowd in a tent in the factory’s parking lot were Gov. Henry McMaster, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, state Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey and state Sen. Nikki Setzler.

In his own remarks, McMaster touted the efforts of Nephron since moving to the county from Florida in 2017 as a testament to the state’s business climate.

“We have business-friendly legislation,” he said. “We understand that our entire state cannot thrive without jobs and careers.” — JL


United Way CEO talks Lexington County impact


Sara Fawcett, president and CEO of the United Way of the Midlands, spoke at the Lexington Chamber’s Business over Breakfast meeting Dec. 13 regarding the nonprofit's mission.

Fawcett addressed the crowd about the organization and what they bring to the community and its residents, mentioning that it helped more than 26,000 people last year. 

The organization currently covers Lexington County along with five others and has a focus on creating “generational change by meeting immediate needs, breaking cycles of crisis, and empowering people to build their own paths to success,” she said.

Fawcett addressed a few main concerns within the community, including affordable healthcare and housing along with generational poverty.

According to Fawcett, they are the only United Way to own and operate their own dental and eye clinics, with one of the two being in the county. Originally, WellPartners was established to provide free dental care to children, but since 2012 has expanded to serve adults with both dental and eye care. 

In the last year, the WellPartners clinic in the county had 1,252 of the organization’s overall total of 4,356 patient visits.

Next year, the organization will launch its Young Men United initiative, aiming to help young men of color who are college-capable but face barriers to completing their higher education. Mentorship, scholarships and paid internships are among the supports the initiative will supply to these young men. 

“I love, love, love this community and I love to work with other people to try to make it better,” Fawcett said.  “And that is the way that generational change is created is by doing it together.” — KK


West Columbia names new fire chief


West Columbia has a new fire chief.

The city announced the selection of Marquis Soloman to the role last week, noting in a release that he is a 23-year fire service veteran, who most recently held the position of second in command for the city’s fire department, serving as deputy fire chief and public information officer.

“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to lead this amazing group of high-performing professional firefighters and to serve the growing City of West Columbia and our citizens,” he is quoted.

“I’m proud that West Columbia is making Marquis Solomon our next fire chief. He joined us eight years ago and has provided exemplary service ever since. I am particularly proud that our department has once again produced such a great leader and we were able to fill this position from within,” Mayor Tem Miles is quoted. — JL


Wine bar to take spot abandoned by church-challenged biergarten

The downtown Lexington property that was set to be a biergarten that was challenged by a neighboring church is now set to house a wine bar.

Molto Vino, a wine bar with two locations in Columbia, teased its impending location at 102 W Main St. in a Facebook photo. The State’s Chris Trainor confirmed the bar’s plans, reporting that an opening date hasn't been set.

Navy Yard Biergarten, which announced intentions to open on the property, had its alcohol licenses formally challenged by the neighboring St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church. Shortly after winning that legal battle, the partners in the endeavor announced that the business was no longer coming to Lexington.

According to The State, Molto Vino, which will occupy one of the three buildings on the property, doesn’t anticipate any issues with the church.

“I have a very good relationship with the leaders of the church,” the company’s chief development officer, Tony Carbone, is quoted. “They seem to appreciate our communication and don’t seem to have any major issues with our business plan.”

As of the Chronicle’s Dec. 13 press deadline, Molto Vino hadn’t replied to requests for comment.  — JL


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