Pee Dee company celebrates its 100th year in business

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - The Darlington Veneer Company, a decorative plywood business, commemorated its 100th year in business with a two-day celebration.

The company kicked off the celebration Thursday with an appreciation cookout for its employees and their families. Friday, visitors were able to tour the mill and learn about the crafting process, with a final celebration later that night at the Wild-Edwards House. South Carolina Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and Speaker of the House of Representatives Jay Lucas served as guest speakers.

"When you think about 100 years of existence, there's very few companies that's ever reached that milestone," general manager Pat Lynch said.

The Darlington Veneer Company is a three-generation-owned business originally founded by Sherman Ramsey in 1918. It's now owned by his two grandsons, John and Jim Ramsey.

The company specializes in crafting plywood and hardwood for kitchen cabinets and other furniture.

"We take that [plywood] laminate it in our presses, saw it to size, sand and ship it out to customers," Lynch said.

Every day the company produces around 3,000 pieces of plywood, something that would not be possible without its 120 employees. Lynch said whereas most businesses today outsource employees, especially sales teams, most of their workers are local and on site.

"They're able to work with the customers, but at the same time go into the plant, work with our employees to make sure that product meets their expectations," Lynch said.

One employee, Reginald Hubbard, has worked with the company for 47 years. After working as vice president and general manager, Hubbard said he's retired, but still works part-time.

"When you learn to develop a passion for plywood and wood in general, it's been a great career I've enjoyed. I feel like we've been very fortunate to make that milestone," Hubbard said.

It's a millstone the company hopes to commemorate more in the future, dedicating the celebration to the past 100 years and embarking on the next 100 in the Darlington community.

"We're just getting started and we're looking forward to building our business; in fact, we're in a growth mode right now. Our sales are up this year so we're growing and we want to continue," Lynch said.

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