BREAKING GROUNDS: Big Guns Coffee to partner with ICC on indoor hydroponic coffee farm

Published 1:22 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Coffee shop and college collaborate to build first-of-its-kind facility 


FOOTHILLS—A local coffee shop owner is teaming up with Isothermal Community College to build the world’s first indoor hydroponic coffee farm. 

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Big Guns Coffee owner T.Shane Johnson recently announced the partnership with ICC, who will be providing a location for his unique approach to coffee plant cultivation.

“Isothermal brought to my attention that they had an empty bay that would be great for this project, and then presented to me the idea that they could utilize their resources to help support and build this farm,” said Johnson.

This ambitious endeavor will create a 5,000-square-foot production facility within the Technology Building at Isothermal’s Spindale campus. The opportunity will exist for the school to utilize its expertise in such fields as robotics, technology, engineering, agriculture and business on the first-of-its-kind project.

“This partnership is a game-changer,” said Johnson. “It showcases Isothermal’s dedication to fostering local community and farming, making us pioneers in the industry.”

Big Guns Coffee was founded by Johnson and his nine-year-old daughter, Charli, in 2021. Its first brick-and-mortar location was opened at 152 N. Trade St. in Tryon, and within months Johnson had launched the Big Guns coffee truck.

Big Guns Coffee has grown to three locations including venues in Spindale and Landrum. For more information, visit