COLUMBIA, S.C. — Suminoe Textile of America Corporation, a supplier of textile products for the North American automotive market, is expanding its needle punch carpet facility in Cherokee County that makes automotive carpeting. The $5 million investment is expected to create 100 new jobs.

Suminoe is the wholly owned subsidiary of Suminoe Textile Ltd., which originated in Japan more than 125 years ago. Suminoe Textile of America Corporation began operations in the United States at its Gaffney facility in 2003.

Kathie Ledford, HR manager for Suminoe Textile of America Corporation, said in a statement: "Suminoe is excited to continue growth at our United States facility in Cherokee County. They welcomed us with open arms ten years ago and we appreciate the continued support of Cherokee County and the South Carolina Department of Commerce."

South Carolina's automotive sector employs more than 46,000 in the state at 250 companies in 38 of the state's 46 counties, according to South Carolina Department of Commerce data.

Over the past decade, Suminoe has grown from an initial 10 employees to more than 400 currently employed at its Gaffney facility. As part of the expansion, Suminoe will be hiring machine operators, forklift drivers, inspection operators as well as management positions. Those interested in career opportunities with the company may apply by emailing Suminoe's human resources division.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits for the project.

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said, "The automotive sector continues to drive business location and expansion decisions in South Carolina, including companies in the textile industry. Thanks to companies like Suminoe, South Carolina's rich history in textiles is growing."