Kent to host two-day bicycle conference
by Robert Joseph Baker | May 31, 2015 1:05 pm
Kent International is hosting a two-day event in September for bicycle parts manufacturers from Asia. The event will be held at Kent’s Bicycle Corporation of America (BCA) factory in Manning, S.C., about 80 miles from Charleston, S.C.
“We are really excited to announce that the governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, will be visiting our factory on Sept. 22 to meet and greet visitors,” said Arnold Kamler, Kent International’s CEO. The event will only be open to only 40 companies, so Kamler suggests Asian suppliers get in touch with him at Kent International quickly.
“The purpose of the event is to show the benefits of manufacturing in the United States for low to medium-range priced bicycles in high volume. Several parts suppliers have also asked if it will be possible to visit the Port of Charleston on Sunday and we will be arranging this as well as a dinner party in Charleston,” Kamler added. Several professional translators, fluent in English and Mandarin, will be on hand at the event to help visitors if required.
During the event Kent will hold tours of the BCA factory, which produces over 20,000 bicycles per month and will increase that amount to 30,000 bicycles per month in 2016, and 40,000 bicycles per month in 2017. Several different divisions of the South Carolina state and local governments will also be in attendance to explain the benefits and incentives of moving to South Carolina.
“We purchased a total of 52 acres when we invested in our factory, and there are 30 acres that we do not plan to use and are willing to sell this or lease it to a component supplier at substantially under the market price,” Kamler said. “The cost of building a first-class facility in Clarendon County, including the real estate, is $35 to $40 per square foot. But there are also five large buildings available today within 10 miles of our factory,” he added.
In addition to Kent’s BCA factory, Kamler points out that Gov. Haley’s administration was instrumental in Boeing’s expanded factory in the Lowcountry. Recently Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have opened plants in South Carolina. One of BMW’s largest global factories also is located there.
The Kent event is planned for Sept. 21-22.