There were a lot of good reasons for Oldcastle APG to build their new Sakrete facility near Cowpens. Oldcastle, which manufactures architectural products, already owned the 24-acre property adjacent to its existing masonry plant. Perhaps most advantageous was its location along U.S. Highway 85 and central to its area of distribution.
It also didn’t hurt that their power provider is a neighbor.
Broad River Electric welcomed one of its newest industrial accounts in 2020 when Oldcastle built the Sakrete plant on Webber Road less than a mile and a half from the cooperative’s new headquarters.
“They’ve been great since we arrived,” says Rollie Kirby, the local Sakrete site manager. “If there is something we need, I can go right to them. And they let me know when they need to make an adjustment to our service. Everything has been smooth.”
Just as for all members, Broad River Electric makes sure Sakrete can depend on that service.
“I told Mr. Kirby, we’re reliable and we’re local,” says Broad River Electric’s Vice President of Economic Development Jeff Humphries. “We’re part of this community, and we take pride in that.”
The Sakrete facility, with more than 40 employees, is bagging as many as 40,000 sacks of concrete per day. Sakrete blends the aggregate materials—sand, crushed stone, and cement—to make the concrete mix typically used for backyard and patio projects. Sakrete’s most popular products are 80-pound and 60-pound concrete mix bags.
Before they are mixed, the aggregates are first dried in a massive rolling drum. Once all moisture is eliminated, the materials are cooled in another rolling drum and then elevated into 160-ton staging bins. The aggregates eventually make their way into one of the two mixers at the head of twin production lines where baggers connect sacks with the chutes expelling the mix.
“Our goal is to do 1,000 per hour,” says Kirby. “Some of these guys can really pack. They get into a rhythm and are doing two at a time.”
That kind of pace is needed to keep up with the demand—and Broad River Electric makes sure they’ve got the power to deliver. Each day, more than 1,600 tons of concrete mix are being packaged and shipped to stores such as Lowe’s, The Home Depot, and independently owned hardware stores across the Carolinas and Tennessee.
“This is the time of year when the do-it-yourself projects start,” says Kirby. “So, you’ll see our concrete on the shelves at Lowe’s and your local hardware store.”
Sakrete isn’t the only new local industry Broad River Electric is powering.
Logistics and shipping company DHL opened a distribution facility at Sunny Slope Industrial Park on Webber Road last year, employing over 250 local workers. Oshkosh Defense will manufacture electric and low-emission vehicles for the United States Postal Service at their new plant in the Flatwood Industrial Park in Spartanburg. The facility, which is expected to begin operations next year, will employ more than 1,000 people.