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Dairy has been thriving locally for the past 60 years

Theo Hollington, dairy manager, started out as a driver. Photo by Rick Tobin

Theo Hollington, dairy manager, started out as a driver. Photo by Rick Tobin

Borden Dairy is not really noticeable at its location at 1643 Wichman Street, near the beltline, because of the way that the building sits back off the roadway. The business, however, a fixture in the Walterboro area for the past 60 years, is still in operation, serving Colleton and Hampton counties and also the Ridgeland and Beaufort area.

All four employees, three drivers and Manager Theo Hollington, adhere to strict self-discipline when dealing with sleep schedules. “We have to be here every morning at 3 a.m., getting the trucks ready and on the road,” Hollington said.

Hollington said the dairy has three drivers that run truck routes that require them to drive all over the Lowcountry. “All of the drivers have their own trucks, and all of them have regular accounts and routes. Our drivers are required to have a CDL (commercial driver’s license), and we also require them to maintain a good driving record. If one of our drivers gets three violations within one year, it requires disciplinary action.”

The dairy has been in the same location since it was first constructed just over six decades ago. It started out as Coburg Dairy initially, and remained a part of that company for many years. “This dairy started out as the first branch of Coburg outside of Charleston, and it just changed ownership over to Borden about two years ago.” Hollington noted the dairy now primarily delivers Borden products, but still delivers Coburg milk in gallon jugs to selected stores.

Hollington has been employed with the dairy since 2000. Originally from Charleston, his family moved to Colleton County, and Hollington eventually ended up graduating from Ruffin High School. He then, after obtaining his driver’s license, started commuting to Charleston to work. He read an ad in the (then named) Charleston News and Courier stating that Coburg Dairy was hiring. Upon inquiring about the ad, a company official told him they actually had a position open in Walterboro, where he lived.

“I started out as a driver, but, within three years, I had moved up to manager,” Hollington said. He noted that, of his three drivers, one has worked at the dairy for the past 46 years. Another driver has been with the dairy for two years, and the third has been in training for the past two months.

The drivers make milk and other dairy product deliveries every workday, which starts at 3 a.m. sharp. “We start by making sure the trucks are loaded and then getting them on the road; and most of the drivers are back after running a 10-to-12 hour shift. One route is in the Walterboro area and Edisto Beach, one is in the Hampton and Ridgeland area, and the third route covers the Beaufort area.”

When the three trucks return to the plant, they are cleaned and loaded for the next day’s run, and needed paperwork is done. The trucks also require regular servicing due to the long routes the drivers travel daily, and a service truck travels to Walterboro from the Charleston dairy regularly to service the vehicles.

“As a business, we strive to achieve the best possible service to our customers, and we were very happy to recently attain the Colleton County School District’s business,” Hollington said. “It’s very satisfying to know that our county’s children are getting a healthy product for daily consumption.”