In 1986, Jim Oxendine founded Red-Line, Incorporated – a chemical manufacturing operation with the goal of providing custom chemical blending to exact specifications based on customer requirements.
Jim Oxendine, who served as the President of the company from 1986-2009, was the eldest son of 14 siblings raised on a farm near Lumberton, N.C. He worked the fields of the farm two hours before school each day and would leave class at noon. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade to mind the farm for his dad, a sharecropper and minister.
After marrying, he sought permanent work at age 19. He moved north with many of his peers when it was difficult to land a job due to the discrimination issues of the south. Settling in Philadelphia, PA he and a friend applied for employment at Neats Foot Oil Refinery. Both were qualified so the interviewer tossed a coin. He lost the coin toss and his friend was hired. Once his friend discovered his first assignment would be cleaning a grease pit, he changed his mind and forfeited the job to Jim. After a short time, he was promoted to Pump Foreman and then began operating semi-trucks for company routes all over the East Coast. He remained 10 years with this organization.
In the mid-1960’s, he returned to the south and landed with Southern U.S. Chemical of Lumberton, NC and was assigned plant manager within a year. In 1972, he orchestrated a facility relocation to Rock Hill, SC and remained as plant manager until 1978 when he joined Annandale Corporation as Plant Manager in Charlotte, NC. Annandale was sold in 1986, leaving him without a job.
At age 50 and with a vast knowledge and technical expertise related to chemical blending, he decided to venture in blending chemicals himself. His previous employer, Annandale, had several contracts with Monsanto of St Louis. Once he began operations, he petitioned his previous contacts at Monsanto for business. He quickly became an integral part in producing pilot batches for Monsanto. This eventually led to contacts with Union Carbide, now DOW Chemical.
In the early years, he shared an office and an administrative assistant with Line Chemicals in the Hagins-Fewell neighborhood of Rock Hill. To help a secretary handle calls for both businesses, his phone was red, while Line Chemicals was black. When the call was for Jim, she announced “it’s the red line”. Thus the origin of the company’s name, Red-Line, Inc. The logo reflects his Native American heritage with the Lumbee Tribe of Robeson County, North Carolina.
The first site of operations occurred at a facility on Saluda Road. Operations continued at this facility for 16 years before relocating to a 7 acre site in the Rock Hill Industrial Park on Burkett Road in 2002.
After his passing in January 2009, the business has continued its success with 100% ownership remaining to his wife. His family currently serve in key operations of management. Red-Line’s success is credited to continual referrals from satisfied customers who champion their quality manufacturing and customer service.
Red-Line continues to move toward greater successes in the chemical blending and packaging market as a registered Woman Owned Minority Small Business Enterprise.