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Clarendon County's lead economic developer credits county and City of Manning leaders for working together to help lure an information technology support firm to the community and thinks it will spur revitalization downtown.
George Kosinski, executive director of the Clarendon County Development Board, spoke recently on how Alabama-based Provalus chose Manning over other sites for its third technology innovation center, creating 105 new jobs.
The company plans to begin operations at the start of the new year with 30 employees, and Kosinksi commended various city and county leaders for coming together to win the deal.
"Julia Nelson, the mayor, under her leadership, and city council and Chairman Dwight Stewart's leadership and county council, they really, really came together and made this work," Kosinski said. "We always tout it's a team that makes this work, but I will tell you the team we have right now came together and sealed the deal on this project."
The firm's mission is to develop technology support jobs in rural areas for its numerous clients, some of which are Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 companies, he said. Initially, Provalus will operate out of the 600 Building on Central Carolina Technical College's F.E. DuBose Campus in Manning before moving to 34 N. Brooks St. in the downtown area possibly sometime next summer, Kosinski said.
The downtown building is a historic structure built in the early 1900s and was previously a Belk department store for many years. A series of renovations will be required to get the facility up and running that will take at least six months, Kosinski said.
The City of Manning purchased the building a couple years ago as a speculative office space to lure an economic development-related project to the city, and Kosinski said that was another key to winning the deal and represented "forward thinking" on the city's part.
He expects Provalus to reach 105 employees within its first 12 to 18 months of operation, with potential for more growth after that. If the operation goes well, the company could be at about 200 in Manning in three to five years, he said.
He also said he thinks the development will be a catalyst for downtown redevelopment in the future with associated service-related jobs coming in.
Nelson, the mayor, said Manning was ready for the Provalus opportunity.
"When opportunities like these become available, communities must be ready, not get ready," she said. "When Manning purchased the former Belk building in 2017, it was an investment for a future economic development opportunity. With Provalus choosing Manning, it proves the investment was definitely a good one."
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