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, beers, ciders, meads, a coffee roaster, a farm, farmers market, cafe, and farm to fork food truck that sources local food and raises their own animals. Hemp clothing, CBD products and a candle maker are also on site. There is also a new native plants nursery!
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 home to Fair Game Beverage Company , Chatham Cider Works, and Starrlight Mead and BMC Brewing. We enjoy the smells of coffee from Vortex Roasters. Lilly Den Meats & Eats provides amazing farm to fork food that the whole family will love. Metal Brixx cafe serves sweets, tea and coffees. Fair Game has an amazing pantry full of North Carolina delicacies, chocolates, snacks and even caviar!
Hempsmith Clothing provides comfortable and fun clothing made from hemp. Essence 4 You makes the most delightful scented candles, There is an art gallery run by the Chatham Artist's Guild. Oak City Hemp and Carolina Hemp can fix you up with cbd products.
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. There is a trail surrounding the property and bird life is vibrant! Many live music and special events like International Dance Night or Strawberry Moon Sound Healing happen on a weekly basis. You might have an orchestra playing or you might have a singer song writer on the streets of The Plant.
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).
The Plant is proud of their beautiful event grounds which have seen conferences, workshops, carnivals, fiestas, faires, art openings, birthdays, weddings, and funerals.
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!