There is no question that High Point’s furniture background has played a crucial role in developing the city we are today. The city itself got its namesake from its commitment to the furniture industry, and has welcomed tens of thousands every year to celebrate the developed culture through generations. But in the new era of High Point, instead of focusing on the stories that were written in the past, a new project is turning the page towards the city’s innovative future.
The non-profit, HP365 is the driving force behind the catalyst project converting the 100 year old Adams-Millis Hosiery Mill into Plant Seven, a 100,000 square foot entrepreneurial center, fit with a large co-working space, showcase areas, an internationally-recognized materials library and socialization areas such as a café, restaurant and fitness center. After spending more than two decades in the global furniture trade, Tim Branscome, the CEO and developer of the project, teamed up with Patrick Chapin, CEO of Business High Point – Chamber of Commerce, along with local business owners to form HP365. Generous support from High Point University, International Market Centers, Bill Millis and Blue Ridge Properties helped turn this dream to reality.
When asked how he believes the city of High Point will be impacted by this concept, Tim Branscome, CEO, HP365 / Plant Seven (pictured below) notes the positive transformation to the community at large and the opportunity for collaboration and innovation.
This project has been a vision of the Business High Point – Chamber of Commerce Board for years. Chapin believes that the community of High Point is one that embodies High Point’s history and culture all 365 days of the year, and that HP365 will be the best platform to bring their everyday realities to life in front of locals and visitors, who will be exposed to the industry in an entirely new way. Ultimately, through their project, HP365 is aiming to restore the creative energy back in areas of High Point’s downtown (and as creatives, we could not be more pleased with this initiative).
The image below (taken from English Street) shows Adams Millis Hosiery Mill in the early 1900’s.
Plant Seven will offer a large co-working area with smaller spaces where individual workers can create, collaborate and expand on their knowledge, beyond just the world of furnishings in High Point, North Carolina. Images below show how the co-working space is currently set up at Plant Seven.
Even though Plant Seven’s main focus will be the furnishings industry, the project will also drive and support entrepreneurs of all kinds. Plant Seven will introduce great programming: Ted Talks, events similar to those of Shark Tank, mentoring programs, and even opportunities to introduce school age kids to 3-D printing and so much more! We can hear a collective cheer from entrepreneurs across the state!
Chapin says this is where small businesses and start-ups will have their chance to shine and showcase their work, and he couldn’t be more excited to see the way the High Point furnishings community will be able to work together and create new products they may have never imagined. “There is a special energy in these co-working spaces because it truly is collaboration, not competition.”
The Material ConneXion is based in New York, but will have the opportunity to bring their information to the High Point community, allowing one-of-a-kind access to materials, ideas and projects from around the world. There will also be accessible 3-D printing technology for makers and designers looking to expand their projects in a variety of ways.
“Something I truly believe in my heart is that in 10-15 years from now, people are going to be walking through a thriving downtown, point at the building and our project, and say “That’s where it all started,” in regards to the renaissance of entrepreneurs in High Point,” Chapin said.
HP365 has received $3 million in funding, with $1.5 million dollar grant from Sen. Trudy Wade and Rep. John Faircloth, and was outmatched to secure the grant by $1.625 million raised through private donations. With a solid financial foundation and a leadership team, HP365 isn’t just looking to make this project influential, but also one that inspires the community and builds an even greater reputation for the city it calls home.
“We want people to come and make this the energy center of our downtown,” Chapin said. “Because we’re creating a world class facility in High Point, and it will be nothing short of spectacular.”
Discovering our High Points,
The HP Discovered Team
Feature Image | Keith Isaacs Photo