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High Point hubs could spark furniture’s future

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- The old mills scattered around High Point are a reminder of the city's past, but they could be a hub for the future of furniture.

"Taking the High Point Market and stretching it out over the entire year," said Tim Branscome, with Branscome International Group.

That's the goal for Branscome and Business High Point as they role out High Point 365, a space they hope will be a catalyst for the creative process when it comes to furniture and all the industries it weaves into.

"We are looking for a space like this and ideally we find a space with character," Branscome said, walking along a showroom inside an old mill on Mill Avenue.

Between $1.75 million in state grants and $1.5 million of private investments, the group behind High Point 365 is still looking for a space but have a clear timetable and hope to start the first quarter of next year.

"You've got photographers, you've got distribution, you've got furniture design, it's all here. And it's been ignored," Branscome said. "Well High Point 365 actually embraces that community."

In addition to those industries, they also have plans to have a makers space for small manufacturing. The goal is to also create jobs in the process.

Just outside of the downtown market core on West English Road, the old Melrose Hoisery Mill is starting to evolve as well.

"This space will be co-working and co-living," said John Muldoon, walking through the newly painted upstairs of the mill.

Muldoon owns Clubcu furnishing company and plans to transform the mill into what he calls the "Cohab Space."

"This is gonna be my footprint and I want to make something that can stand," Muldoon said.

He wants people to co-live, co-mingle, co-design and basically do everything together to collaborate in innovating furniture. There are also plans for a community space and garden, and a cafe.

Muldoon expects the project to cost more than $5 million, which will come from private financing.