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Smithey Ironware expanding North Charleston operations

Staff //July 25, 2019//

Smithey Ironware expanding North Charleston operations

Staff //July 25, 2019//

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Smithey Ironware Co. is investing $2 million in the expansion of its existing operations into a new location. The company was founded in 2014 and is located on North Charleston's former Navy yard. (Photo/Andy Owens)

Smithey Ironware Co., a designer and manufacturer of cast iron and carbon steel cookware, is expanding again, this time with a $2 million investment that is expected to create 22 new jobs.

The company, founded in 2014, is now located at 1465 Pipefitter St. in North Charleston’s Navy Yard, a 15,000-square-foot facility that serves as the company’s headquarters.

Will Copenhaver, Smithey’s vice president of marketing and sales, said the new location, an expansion from its previous 5,000-square-foot production site on Machinist Street, includes the company’s fulfillment center, sales hub, call center and operations hub, as well as its production facility.

“We’re kind of excited to have some more office space as well,” Copenhaver said. “We currently have more than we need, which is a good feeling because at the pace we’re growing and with our plans, that will not last long.”

Smithey manufactures raw castings, with a surface similar to heavy grit paper, into cookware pieces by hand and by machine. The process includes hand-grinding, tumbling, machining and seasoning the castings.

Copenhaver said Smithey is investing several hundred thousand dollars into new equipment, such as tooling machines that help get the cast iron pans to their ideal weight.

The company also launched a new product earlier this month, a carbon steel skillet, in partnership with Robert Thomas Iron Design, also located in North Charleston’s former Navy yard.

“Robert was literally on the other side of the wall of our old shop,” Copenhaver said. “He was our neighbor, and it’s such a cool story of Charleston and this little ecosystem of companies.”

Founder and President Isaac Morton said in a news release that the company is looking forward to this phase of growth.

“Smithey was founded in Charleston for reason — we feel the city offers a great blend of access to talent, strong entrepreneurial culture, community business support and an enjoyable standard of living,” Morton said.

Smithey has already hired several new employees as it begins building inventory for the holiday season, Copenhaver said, and is looking to hire more.

“It feels really good to have everything aligned where we feel confident we can keep up with production to match demand that we’re driving the growth in,” he said.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said in the release that the city welcomes Smithey Ironware’s investment.

“North Charleston heralds its highly skilled workforce, and we pride ourselves on the unique companies making premium products by hand,” Summey said. “When a chef in Los Angeles or Chicago is using a Smithey product, we're honored to know that its origins are here in North Charleston.”