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Mill 133 - Smoke Stack 2.jpg

Mill 133


AN UNFOLDING STORY

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Mill 133


AN UNFOLDING STORY

 
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a restoration project

From the brilliant, creative minds of Jerry Neal (RF Micro Devices & Linbrook Hall)  and Dustie Gregson (Owner & Founder of The Table Farmhouse Bakery), comes a brand new rebuilding project in the heart of downtown Asheboro, NC.

 

 
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History


Built 100 years ago, Mill 133 is born out of a historical Asheboro Landmark.

History


Built 100 years ago, Mill 133 is born out of a historical Asheboro Landmark.

 

Asheboro Hosiery Mills and Cranford Furniture Company Complex (also known as Cranford Industries and National Chair Company) is a historic textile mill and furniture factory complex located in the heart of downtown Asheboro, North Carolina. The complex includes three brick industrial buildings erected from 1917 through the 1940s and the Cranford Industries Office constructed in 1925. Also on the property are the contributing Cranford Industries Smokestack and a lumber shed (both built in the 1950s). The Mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. 

 

"The Cranford Family invested time, energy and money 100 years ago to build this beautiful, historic mill. This mill changed Asheboro for the better--it brought jobs, industry and a thriving economy to this city. Why take it down? Why not sow and rebuild?"

- Dustie Gregson
FOUNDING PARTNER VSR

 

 

“My grandfather, C.C. Cranford, built the initial buildings in 1917. He used them as a box plant, boxes for the hosiery being manufactured. He was a fascinating man. He grew up on a farm in the New Hope Community southwest of Asheboro. He wanted to move to Asheboro and 'make his way in the world.'

C.C. moved to the downtown Asheboro area and drove a wagon for a flower mill for years. He saved all his hard-earned money and ended up buying the flower mill, which then turned into the Hosiery Mill. The Hosiery Industry was moving into our area, and business was booming. He moved into the furniture industry and built many other additional plants. 

When my grandfather passed away in 1955, my dad took over the business; and when my dad passed away, I took it over. We sadly closed everything down in 1999. Although I truly enjoyed working with the people and cared about them, to be honest, closing was a relief. The hosiery business got so difficult because of trade and globalization. So much of our work went to Mexico and China due to cheaper labor. The mill has been abandoned for eighteen years now.

When Dustie Gregson bought the Cranford office building and restored it into The Table Farmhouse Bakery, it was marvelous to see my office of thirty years transformed! If Dustie hadn't bought the mill in 2016, it would've been torn down and sadly made into a parking lot. Our family can't wait to see what the great success Mill 133 will be.”

- Sam Cranford
Owner of Cranford Industries

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meet VSR, llc.


VISION TO SOW AND REBUILD

meet VSR, llc.


VISION TO SOW AND REBUILD

VSR, llc.

VISION TO SOW & REBUILD

Created by VSR, LLC. (Vision to Sow & Rebuild), Mill 133 will be designed to be a retail complex offering a variety of products and services to the community. VSR's mission is to honor the rich legacy of historic buildings and re-purpose and re-design them to inspire a city to thrive.


"I had a dream to sow and rebuild. I believe it’s vital to create and produce things not just for yourself, but for others. When you plant a tiny seed and watch as a tree slowly grows and bears good fruit, it is worth the sowing of the seed. There's something in my DNA that knows new things aren't as appealing and magical as old ones. Old things have a soul, and they inspire me with the story they want to tell. 

I used to drive down Church and Sunset Streets, and it was dead. People would never have dreamed of coming to downtown Asheboro at night in the past. It was a ghost town. 

Now, I see it's coming alive because of entrepreneurs who had a dream to develop businesses to help our community thrive. I took a risk with The Table Farmhouse Bakery in 2012. I thought, "Let's just try this for the people of our community." But now we have more amazing places, like Four Saints Brewery and Bia's Gourmet Hardware to name a few. And people are coming out of the woodworks! I don't want to see the growth stop."

-Dustie Gregson

DUSTIE GREGSON

FOUNDING PARTNER

Dustie Helser Gregson studied Apparel Arts at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro but left school before graduating to marry Andy Gregson, who is the current DA for Randolph and Montgomery Counties.  While being a stay at home mom to three boys, she designed and decorated furniture pieces and performed many design and decorating services for both residential and commercial projects.  She is a full-time representative for the furniture line Aspenhome and handles the account at Furnitureland South in High Point, NC.

Dustie had a desire to develop a business in downtown Asheboro with the goal of giving the community a place to gather while providing outstanding food, coffee and bakery items in a unique, tasteful atmosphere. She and her husband purchased the property at 139 S. Church St. in Asheboro, NC and worked hard to refurbish the property.  The building is now qualified as a Historic Building through the federal and state governments.  In fact, the location was recognized by the NC Historical Society with an award for the excellence of the project.  Final construction was preformed by Mark Trollinger of Trollinger Construction, who was able to perfectly implement Dustie’s vision.  That dream-turned-reality is The Table Farmhouse Bakery, which has been open since May 2013.  The Table has been very successful and opened a second “little sister” location in downtown Greensboro, NC in 2016 called The Table on Elm.


Read Our State Magazine's article on the Table here.

JERRY NEAL

FOUNDING PARTNER

Jerry D. Neal brings unparalleled executive recognition and leadership to the position of Founding Partner, VSR, LLC. Mr. Neal considers the new historical endeavour to be an extension of the mission and purpose he champions throughout all of his investments, which is to preserve Central NC’s rich farming heritage and diverse industrial legacy as well as to conserve the surrounding forests and farm land. Mr. Neal believes the Mill 133 project is preserving the past while promoting the future. 

Mr. Neal is the CEO and Owner of Linbrook Heritage Estate, a private 500 acre working farm and forest located in Trinity, NC. In addition to the commercial farm, the Estate includes the Agri-tourism destinations of Linbrook Hall, a 36,000 square-foot manor dedicated to fundraising, corporate events, weddings and private functions and the Linbrook Museums open year round to the public.  The museums are comprised of a vintage tractor museum, antique industrial museum, antique saw mill as well as the Historic Hoover House.  Mr. Neal recently expanded the farm with additional acreage and extended his efforts to preserve the county’s antique industrial equipment to include saving the old Cranford Smoke Stack in downtown Asheboro. This successful project led to his cooperation and joint partnership with Dustie Gregson to form VSR, LLC and begin the effort to further preserve and rehabilitate the larger mills at 133 S. Church St, now named Mill 133.

Click here for more on Jerry Neal

 

The Square on Church


The Square on Church


The Next Addition to the Mill 133 campus

From left to right: The Neal Building, Mill 133, The Table

From left to right: The Neal Building, Mill 133, The Table

 

Excerpts about The Square on Church from The Courier-Tribune...

"Once [Jerry Neal and Dustie Gregson] began brainstorming, they realized Neal’s purchase [of the former Brick City building (next to The Table)] opened up the scope of the Mill 133 project to more than just saving and renovating one building. 'If you look at the overview, it does create a square if you tie-in the smokestack and the mill,' Dustie said of the overall campus that also includes Neal’s building and The Table. 'So we’re going to be referencing the area going forward as The Square on Church.' In addition to the properties, The Square on Church will include landscaped pedestrian-centered areas for the community to enjoy...

Within a couple of years, the newly created pedestrian areas will tie into The Mill 133, which will be a mixed-use facility to include retail, restaurants and, if Gregson is able to realize her full vision, an inn. “We wanted it to be a space in which the community as a whole could come and create revenue; a destination for the city; employment,” Gregson said.

“There are so many attractive things in the city, and the city’s growing,” Neal said. “I think [Asheboro] has the attitude of wanting to be a destination. With the bypass around town, it’s going to be easier to get here. We need a core-center, where we can have a variety of things that would make people want to come.” Neal and Gregson envision that core as The Square on Church."

Read the FULL Courier-Tribune article here.