Top 5 Reason To Visit Gibson Mill in Concord, NC

Nearby Charlotte is known as an old hub for textile mills, such as Optimist Hall, which is now a prominent food hall. But there are remarkable old mills all over the Charlotte metro area, including near downtown Concord. Gibson Mill in Concord, NC, is one example of fun adaptive reuse worth visiting.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Gibson Mill in Concord, NC

One difference in comparing Gibson Mill to Optimist Hall is that Optimist Hall has a much more singular focus. While Optimist Hall is primarily full of small retail stalls (mainly restaurant concepts), Gibson Mill is home to all types of businesses. It’s a great example of the successful adaptive reuse of old building stock.

1. The Food Hall (Gibson Market)

Gibson Market is the food hall at Gibson Mill and is most similar to Optimist Hall in Charlotte. The Gibson Market doesn’t have as many restaurant options, but the options they do have are stellar. Plus, the options are eclectic.

You can choose from options such as pizza, tacos, barbecue, ice cream, and gourmet cookies. We love modern food halls because they offer options for everyone. Not everyone in your group will like the same things. Food halls are a great place to meet friends or to go as a family because everyone can get what they want the most.

Plus, because of the old mill set-up, there is tons of seating. The retail stalls line the outer walls of Gibson Market, and tables of various sizes fill the extra space. It’s an open environment that still provides a greater sense of privacy and personableness than you might expect.

Perhaps it’s the original wood floors or the exposed brick and beams. It’s hard to pinpoint precisely why Gibson Mill feels so homey, but you will likely have the urge to return often.

One unique thing about the Gibson Mill experience is the expansive seating on an outdoor veranda. This offers an excellent option when the weather is nice or you want a little more privacy than you might have inside the food hall.

For us, Gibson Market and the food hall is the main reason to visit Gibson Mill. All of the other reasons are just the cherry on top.

2. Antique Mall (The Depot at Gibson Mill)

Antique mall at Gibson Mill Concord NC

The Gibson Market is fantastic, but The Depot at Gibson Mill is the largest antique mall in the south. That’s all you need to know to understand how excellent this place is if you like antiques. Heck, even if you don’t plan on buying any antiques, you are bound to see some interesting things.

The Depot at Gibson Mill features over 750 booths, covering nearly 88,000 square feet, which is more than enough for there to be a little something for everyone.

This antique mall is so well known that antique lovers from faraway states like New York and Florida have been known to visit. And you better believe that The Depot is a regional favorite for antique lovers.

Plus, it’s the type of antique stop that you can revisit time and time.

Beyond the antiques, there is also a large selection of fabrics in the Cotton Room at The Depot. For those that aren’t antique enthusiasts, that might seem like an odd conversation, but it makes a lot of sense.

Part of the draw to antiques is finding hidden treasures that fit your existing collection. And sometimes that means you need some new fabric.

3. Classic Cars (AutoBarn)

Antique furniture and classic cars are almost too obvious of a match, but it’s not one you will see in many places. But Gibson mill is that place. Check out the antique mall, grab some lunch at Gibson Market, and then check out classic cars at the AutoBarn.

Much of the inventory at AutoBarn is on consignment, which means the vehicles are for sale, and you can dream about owning your favorite vehicle. Prices on the vehicles vary widely. You might find a 1950s Jeep or a 1960s American muscle car.

AutoBarn works by showcasing vehicles that proud owners are looking to sell, and they get a commission for the trouble. The cool thing is that you can visit to check out some of the classic cars. Not every car is for sale, though, as some are considered in storage on behalf of the owner.

The AutoBarn concept started in Charlotte but now sits at Gibson Mill. Fittingly, it sits a few miles from and in the same town as the famous Charlotte Motor Speedway.

4. Local Brews (Cabarrus Brewing Company)

Food, fun, shopping, and even games at Gibson Mill.

You could spend the entire day at Gibson Mill. It’s a surprising destination location that is still emerging and flying under the radar. But after you visit the antique mall, the classic car exhibition and eat at Gibson Market, you might want to grab a cold brew at Cabarrus Brewing.

Cabarrus Brewing also has a great menu. You might find yourself eating lunch at Gibson Market and later enjoying a burger and beer at the brewery.

We mentioned that old mills scatter the metro Charlotte region, but the same is true for craft breweries. It’s fitting, then, that Gibson Mill combines the region’s past with its present. In doing so, a local business serves its community with a gathering spot to enjoy great beer.

The Cabarrus Brewing Company fills a niche need both at Gibson Mill and in the Concord community. In doing so, it complements the rest of Gibson Mill’s tenant lineup perfectly.

5. Support Local Businesses

BBQ at Gibson Market

The food hall, antique mall, classic car exhibition, and brewery are just some of the tenants you will find at Gibson Mill in Concord, NC.

Surprisingly, the mill offers space for even more retail spots and other small businesses. You will also find a non-profit circus training school, an axe-throwing range, and an event venue.

If there are two things that we love about Gibson Mill, the first is the variety of tenants. There’s even an office for a U.S. Congressperson. The second thing that we love is the endless opportunity to support local small businesses.

Small businesses are the lifeline of any community, and Gibson Mill offers a unique building and experience to house all of these small businesses.

More About Gibson Mill, Concord, NC

Gibson Market

There are plenty of things to do in Concord, NC, but places like Gibson Mill add character and authenticity.

Gibson Mill is a cool place to visit, whether you live in the Concord area or not. Sure, most visitors are from Concord, but it’s worth driving up from Charlotte to check it out. And people come from much further to check out the stock of antiques and classic cars.

Concord, North Carolina, is known for its beautiful downtown region, and Gibson Mill is a major reason why.

What Was Gibson Mill in Concord, NC?

Gibson Mill opened in 1899 to serve the Gibson Manufacturing Company. The mill served as a textile factory and, at one point, had over 31,000 sewing spindles. Before closing in 2003, Gibson Mill made everything from popular fabrics to towels and sheets.

Today, Gibson Mill honors the past with an eye toward the future. The mill now serves as a community gathering spot but also has tenants that pull customers from far and wide.

Who owns Gibson Mill?

Four local friends operating as Southpaw Investors purchased Gibson Mill when it shut down, and they own it today. From 2005 to 2021, the team worked on securing enough tenants to fill out the massive space. In 2022, the locally sourced food hall opened in a former weaving room.

Gibson Mill Adds New Flavor to Downtown Concord, NC

Gibson Mill in Concord, NC, adds surprising versatility to a city known for its small-town feel. Beyond that, Gibson Mill has become a hub for local entrepreneurial activity. There aren’t many places that you can visit to find a food hall, axe throwing range, circus school, antique mall, and classic car exhibition.

Downtown Concord, NC, has a very cool vibe, and Gibson Mill is a nearby attraction that makes it even more worth visiting.

Gibson Mill is that place. In many ways, it is one-of-a-kind and well worth the visit. There are many things to do in the Charlotte region, but Gibson Mill flies under the radar as on of the coolest places to spend a day.

Jeremiah moved to the Charlotte area with his wife, Erin, back in 2013. The family has grown over the years, and they now call the Carolinas home. They enjoy hiking and adventures, road trips, backyard fire pits, and pizza night. Jeremiah loves to explore, and looks forward to sharing tips, tricks, and resources for your next trip.