Chatham Marketplace


Chatham Marketplace is a co-op grocery located in Chatham Mills, an 80,000-square-foot former textile mill located just north of the courthouse circle in historic Pittsboro, NC. Chatham Marketplace is committed to bringing our customers a full range of exceptionally fresh and nutritious whole foods. Our market sells a full line of sustainable and certified organic produce (over a quarter of it from local growers), grocery, deli, bakery, bulk and dairy items, meats, amazing sandwiches, artisan cheeses, hot bar and salad bar items, beer, wine, great coffee and health and beauty aids!

Our Ends

Chatham Marketplace exists to provide Chatham County with:

  • Access to healthy quality food
  • A trusted market to support local and sustainable agriculture
  • A resource for community engagement and education

A Brief History

In April 2003, Melissa Frey and Tami Schwerin met at a playground in Pittsboro with their children to flip through the Business Plan Melissa had created for a cooperative grocery store--she had long been thinking Chatham needed a store like this. Tami was immediately inspired and jumped into the fire (aka project) with complete commitment! With their complementary strengths the idea moved forward quickly, and Chatham Marketplace was incorporated as a cooperative on June 5, 2003.

The first ownership shares were sold at a community potluck/information session in July of 2003 and significant local investment was also secured to allow the grassroots project to get noticed and supported by the national food co-op network. Weaver Street Market's management team was outstanding and a glowing example of cooperation in the help they offered us in numerous areas. All told, more than $435,000 was raised by the local community to help finance the million-dollar project.

The Board of Directors and many volunteers worked tirelessly for two and a half years organizing and attending events, creating and maintaining a website, developing a purchasing policy and local farm protocol and doing everything possible to spread the word to garner support for the Co-op vision.

After 14 months of looking at many locations around Pittsboro, a lease was signed for retail space in Chatham Mills on April 1, 2005. Our full-time General Manager, Mary DeMare, was hired on June 1, 2005 to ready the Co-op for operations and handle equipment ordering and installation while Project Manager, Melissa Frey, kept the leasehold improvements moving forward and continued focusing on marketing and owner services.

After many delays and near lost sanity, Chatham Marketplace opened its doors on Thursday, May 18, 2006. And it's been open every day since!