Lamar manufacturer plans expansion
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
The March 9 meeting of Lamar Town Council started off with some good news, as a local industry addressed council about plans to expand their production facilities.
David Epps, president of Carolina Table Manufacturing Company, said he wishes to add a new metal building to his company’s footprint, a new structure that would house a 110-foot long spray finishing line. Epps said this new machine, which he has already secured from Italy, would apply a near “indestructible” finish to solid wood and veneered products.
Epps said the building would be raised on land owned by Warren Jeffords, located between Carolina Table’s current 102 Main Street facility and Boykin Avenue. He and contractor Don Clark asked council to consider granting a variance from a building code requirement for a firewall at this structure, since the new building would not abut any other buildings.
Clark noted that building and codes inspector Henry Chapman had given conditional approval pending an okay from the county fire marshal. Council voted to grant the variance, contingent on fire marshal approval.
Mayor Randy Reynolds then thanked Epps for growing his business and employing even more Lamar residents – a practice Epps said he plans to continue.
“I’ve made a commitment that my future hiring is going to be within this town. If I can at all avoid it, I’m not going outside this town for employment. I haven’t done it for a year and a half, and I don’t plan to do it in the future,” said Epps.
Citizen Fran Knotts asked Epps what the metal building façade would look like. He said that initially, the building will be unadorned and set back from the road, but with future expansion, a brick façade will be added to its Main Street entrance.
Carolina Table produces industrial and custom-built tables – of all sizes and purposes – for businesses across the nation.
In other matters, Janie Howell of the Downtown Pride Committee announced the 4th Annual American Clean-up, scheduled for the last week in March. Howell said the cleanup is crucial to get Lamar spiffed up in advance of the Egg Scramble Jamboree, set for April 2 through 4.
Howell said that inmates from Darlington County will be helping with the cleanup, but many volunteers are needed, and all town residents are encouraged to mow their lawns, clear away junk, and put on their best face for the annual influx of visitors.
Council member Mike Lloyd said the contract for a pump replacement water project went to North American Construction of Quinby, which turned in a low bid of $69,000. However, the town only received $50,000 in grant money from the state to pay for this project, meaning Lamar will need to come up with the balance.
The pump replacement is necessary due to notable levels of radium detected from the town’s No. 1 well. DHEC mandated that the pump be replaced and Lamar install a skater system allowing the town to acquire water from Darlington County Water and Sewer Authority if demand should exceed supply.
Lloyd explained again that the best-case scenario would be that the No. 1 well pump is simply defective and requires replacement. In that case, the project would be covered by that $69,000 bid. If the pump is not defective, then the problem lies deeper and would require an extensive cleaning effort costing an additional $25,000. Work on the pump is scheduled to begin the week of March 23.