CONCORD — Last week, Gibson Mill announced its first five tenants for the Gibson Mill Market and the food hall expected to open this fall.
Thomas Moore, Gibson Mill business development director, said the idea for the market was announced two years ago, and he had hoped the market would open in 2020.
Gibson Mill — part of the historic Cannon Mills Company Plant No. 6 — is one of the largest adaptive reuse projects, with over 656,000 square feet on 48 acres.
The space, which housed the Gibson Manufacturing Co., established in 1899, is focused on environmentally conscious sustainably. That goal was the foundation for the Gibson Mill Market.
“This is something that came about with the owners of Gibson Mill and one of the tenants here,” Moore said in a phone call with the Independent Tribune. “There was a need for food options for people on-sight. It morphed into this idea that we have this really unique building where we could feature many food options.”
A week before the state shut down in 2020, there were about five or six businesses ready to sign on for the market. But due to the pandemic, the project stagnated as food vendors tried to regroup and find a way to survive through the lockdown and figure out new cleaning and social-distancing protocols.
But while the project was stalled, construction on the 17,000-square-foot market space continued.
Up-fits to the space will allow 10-12 local vendors and a full-service restaurant inside.
“This was always a unique space with a clear story,” Moore said.
But now that businesses are well into the swing of things, vendors have confirmed their commitment to the Gibson Mill Market and the vision behind it.
“They were attracted not only to the idea of being a part of this food hall,” Moore explained about the vendors, “but how they could create this synergy and have these concepts work together to make this a great space for the community.”
The current confirmed vendors are:
High Branch Brewing: The wildly popular brewery tenant at Gibson Mill will complete its cross-property move to the Gibson Mill Market by March 31 and open permanently this summer.
Defined Coffee: The beloved local coffee brand and roaster will celebrate its Gibson Mill Market location as its third in the region.
Luck Factory Games: A lively hangout for family fun, with over 1,000 games, will open this summer.
Johnny Rogers BBQ: Concord’s beloved barbecue gem looks toward a fall opening.
The Market Bar: Led by Cabarrus Brewing’s Steve Steinbacher, it will be “good in a glass.”
The Gibson Mill owners settled on the food hall idea after visiting several halls in Chapel Hill, Durham and the state of Georgia.
The owners hoped that the communal style and free-flowing concept of a food hall would mesh will with the other businesses at the mill.
The food options will focus on grab-and-go dining from local food vendors, keeping that community feel, Moore said.
“I can’t think of a better group of individuals to work with on this,” Moore said.
One of the main reasons the market wanted to feature local food vendors was to give back and uplift local businesses. Now that local businesses have gone through a year in the pandemic, Moore said, they definitely need that support.
In February 2020, Johnny Rogers BBQ helped clear Cabarrus County school lunch debt for elementary, middle and high schoolers. Moore said that type of dedication to the community is what the market will be about.
“At the end of the day,” Moore said, “this is something we want to reflect in the community.”
The Gibson Mill Market is expect to open this fall.
There are still tenant spaces available at the market. Interested businesses can contact Moore at: 704-699-2177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.