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Kent International opens South Carolina factory

Published October 15, 2014

CLARENDON, S.C. (BRAIN) — With South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and Walmart and industry executives in attendance, Kent International opened its new bike factory Monday. Since the opening the factory has assembled 1,500 bikes — 500 a day.

"This is exciting, but it's not like I haven't done this before," said Arnold Kamler, Kent International's chief executive officer, referring to the company's New Jersey bike factory active during the '80s.

"And thanks to the governor's office we are opening right on schedule. We have a great group of employees and other than a few hiccups, things have gone smoothly," Kamler said.

The factory is assembling bikes from imported frames and components and hopes to increase daily production to 1,000 bikes a day next year. Within the next two years the company will produce frames, forks, rims and handlebars at the factory.

The first bikes out the factory door are kids' bikes retailing from $79 to $150; most are shipping straight to Walmart. Kent's investment of $4.3 million in the factory was motivated in part by Walmart's Buy America initiative. The giant retailer is pledging to buy an additional $250 billion in American products over the next decade.

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