The Plant is a diverse 17-acre eco-industrial park located on the east side of Pittsboro, North Carolina. We are the home to like-minded local economy focused small businesses. The Plant has turned local commerce into an experience with an art gallery, many outdoor spaces for gatherings and events, amazing spirits, ciders, meads, beers, a coffee roaster and a farm to fork kitchen that grows her food on site. Hemp clothing and CBD products are also on site.
In the 1940's, it was part of an enormous flower farm, Sunshine Gardens or Boardman’s Flower Farm, which stretched from Robeson Creek to Highway 64. The flower farm was the largest flower farm in the United States for awhile and the specialty was growing large "football" chrysanthemums. These flowers were provided for the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.
In the late ’80’s, The Plant was acquired by Inco Alloys who constructed the four main buildings and used them to manufacture metal alloys for military use. Inco Alloys closed their plant in 1993, and the buildings sat, locked behind a tall, barbed wire-topped fence. Some of the buildings have roofs that will pop up in case of explosion. Thankfully, that has never happened!
The property caught the attention of Lyle Estill, Tami Schwerin and Mark Estill and in 2004 they purchased it with a vision of a sustainable industrial plant. Within this fence, they would grow food, plant native species, make fuel, host many epic events and promote local resilience.
The three of them created a green industry incubator, affectionately referring to their eco-industrial business park as “The Plant”. Two of the buildings were home of Piedmont Biofuels, a biodiesel company that pioneered making fuel for local use from waste oils. They shut their operation in 2012 as electric cars became mainstream. Among the incubated businesses were Doug Jones’ Piedmont Biofarm, Screech Owl Greenhouses, HOMS/EcoBlend, and Eastern Carolina Organics to name a few.
Today, The Plant is the home of the Chatham Beverage District, and as such, home to Fair Game Beverage Company , Chatham Cider Works, and Starrlight Mead. We enjoy the smells of coffee from Vortex Roasters and BMC Brewing is embarking on a new brewery that is sure to light up the campus with even more choices.
Activities include Chatham Axes (if you have aggression to release), Pittsboro Electric Bikes for rent or sale, a Petanque court (kind of like bocce ball) and a playground for little ones.
Tami Schwerin and Lyle Estill, co-founders Arlo Estill, Landscape Manager
Other tenants include Hempsmith Clothing Company, Oak City Hemp, Carolina Hemp Tours and Abundance NC a non profit focusing on community resilience (local food, sustainability, death literacy, mutual aid, and non-profit incubation). ECOblend manufactures safe and sustainable weed and pest control products and Tick Warriors is the go-to for tick safety.
The Plant is proud of their beautiful event grounds which have seen conferences, workshops, carnivals, fiestas, faires, art openings, birthdays, weddings, and funerals.
In 2016, we added Pittsboro Farm and Forest Trail, a 3/4 mile walking trail open to the public. Bird life is vibrant, we are opening a tree museum soon and we have an art walk as well.
One thing is for sure, there is nothing static about our unique business park. Ever-tuned to the flow of life and local economy, The Plant is a community asset. Join us as tenants, for events, throwing an axe, tastings or a stroll down the trail.
Welcome to The Plant!