Sumter, SC Business Overview
Sumter County has a diverse manufacturing base that continually creates opportunities for its residents. It has a pro-business climate, low-cost environment and skilled workforce.
Sumter’s location in the middle of South Carolina appeals to businesses looking for ease of transportation. It is only 45 miles east of the state capital of Columbia, and a short drive from Interstates 95, 20, 77 and 26.
Sumter’s closest airport is the Sumter Municipal Airport, which is owned by the City and County of Sumter. Two commercial airports, Florence Regional Airport and Columbia Metropolitan Airport, are about an hour’s drive from the city.
Base is a Boost
Being home to Shaw Air Force Base means great things for Sumter’s economy. Driving the local economy, the base is made up of 5,400 military and civilian employees and approximately 11,000 family members. It is home to the Air Force’s largest combat F-16 wing – the 20th Fighter Wing – whose mission is to provide, project and sustain combat-ready air forces.
But Shaw Air Force Base is just the beginning. Sumter County’s diverse employment base also includes manufacturing jobs, positions in the medical field, educators, service providers and more.
Sumter is also home to the Third Army, which is comprised of approximately 1,200 soldiers and 200 civilians. The Third Army arrived in Sumter in 2011 and has its headquarters on Shaw Air Force Base. Experts say the Third Army will have a large economic impact on the community, generating more than $120 million each year.
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. is one of the county’s largest industrial employers. The fresh and frozen poultry company employs 2,150 workers at its Sumter County processing and prepared-food plants. One of the largest chicken companies in the United States and Mexico, it can process more than 45 million chickens per week.
Downtown Sumter is becoming the place to see and be seen in Sumter, thanks to the city’s vision for a revitalized downtown core. Several downtown beautification projects are underway, including streetscape, building renovations, and the development of several plazas that will feature picturesque fountains and new construction.
Downtown living is also becoming popular in Sumter. The upper level of the historic Piedmont building on Caldwell Street is being converted into trendy apartments, and people are already heading downtown for shopping, dining and community events such as the Downtown Sumter Farmers Market and Sumter’s WineFest Sip ’n’ Stroll.
Sumter takes pride in being environmentally responsible, and holds an Earth Day celebration each April to demonstrate what it means to “live green.”
Local government programs recycle used motor oil, scrap metal, cardboard, plastic, paper, aluminum, steel, tires and glass. The City of Sumter has even developed a process for recycling wastewater and sludge into a low-grade organic fertilizer and soil conditioner called Poconite. The city creates roughly 2,000 tons of Poconite each year and sells it to golf courses that use it as fertilizer.
Read about jobs in Sumter, SC.