GEORGETOWN, Ky. – If industrial hemp is the raw material source of the future, then the Australia-based company Ecofibre just built its Delorean.
The company broke ground in May of 2019 on its U.S. headquarters, a 50,000-square-foot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, building on six acres in Georgetown’s Lane’s Run Business Park for $16 million. It officially opened Monday, July 6, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and is part of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s hemp pilot program.
Ecofibre CEO and Managing Partner Eric Wang has incorporated what the company does into every facet of the state-of-the-art facility, which is decorated with antiviral and antimicrobial hemp-infused furniture, wallpaper, and more.
“Our couches are made with vegan leather and a hemp top-coating that kills 99.9 percent of staph,” he said. “We supply antimicrobial artificial turf for sports stadiums, paint, outdoor and indoor seating. Our wallpaper uses hemp ink to prevent mold and kills E-coli. This business is not all about CBD, we are about industrial uses.”
Ecofibre has offices in Brisbane and New Castle, Australia, San Diego, California, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and now Georgetown. Choosing Georgetown as the location for the company’s U.S. headquarters was a no-brainer, Wang said.
“Georgetown has good transportation, a good workforce, its a fast-growing area, and the city and Scott County have great elected officials and other community leaders to work with,” he said. “Hemp grows really well here, too. Everything about it was attractive for what we do.”
Ecofibre operates several hemp-related businesses. Ananda Food uses hemp seeds to produce high-quality protein, fatty acids, and other dietary elements. Ananda Hemp processes hemp materials into nutraceutical, or medical food, products that are all-natural and promote health and wellness. Ananda Professional, which sells hemp-based products to pharmacies, and Hemp Black, which produces hemp-based textiles and other materials, such as facemasks.
“The hemp boom in Kentucky is here and here to stay,” Wang said. “It’s not just about farming jobs, because if there’s nothing for people to buy, there’s nothing for farmers to grow. We’re trying to put stuff in the products people buy every day. We’re not trying to create a new floor or chair, we’re trying to make existing floors and chairs better, and products being antibacterial and antiviral is a big deal right now.”
Ecofibre’s products require employees with a broad range of skill sets, such as chemical, civil and electrical engineering, research, innovation, processing, manufacturing, fulfillment, and finance.
Ecofibre will employ around 60 people at its Georgetown facility.