• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

First look inside Globe Dye Works' newest attraction

Globe Dye Works, the former yarn-dyeing factory turned live-work-manufacturing and design space in Frankford continues to write its own history.

    • The original Globe Dye Works building built in 1867 by Greenwood & Bault still stands at the corner of Torresdale Avenue and Kinsey Street.
      The original Globe Dye Works building built in 1867 by Greenwood & Bault still stands at the corner of Torresdale Avenue and Kinsey Street.
    • Globe Dye Works ad, 1936
      Globe Dye Works ad, 1936
    • Globe Dye Works, established in 1865, in 2013. Credit: Bradley Maule/Hidden City Philadelphia
      Globe Dye Works, established in 1865, in 2013. Credit: Bradley Maule/Hidden City Philadelphia
    • Globe Dye Works exterior, 2008
      Globe Dye Works exterior, 2008
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The 1.7-acre, 11-building manufacturing complex at 4500 Worth Street, which dates back to 1867, was owned and operated by the Greenwood family for five generations until 2005. Globe Development Group purchased the building from the family in December 2007 and began their ambitious multi-pronged renovation dreams to convert the former workshop of the world into contemporary manufacturing spaces, offices, artist studios, and apartments. "When we first came in, it was like they hung up their coats and walked out. And that’s what really sucked us in," Charlie Abdo, one of Globe's owners, told Hidden City Philadelphia in 2012. "It was a beautiful place. There was some newer machinery but mostly vintage machines."

    • The boiler room at Globe Dye Works, 2008
      The boiler room at Globe Dye Works, 2008
    • A bar wraps around original pipework. Credit: Birchtree Catering/BeauMonde Originals
      A bar wraps around original pipework. Credit: Birchtree Catering/BeauMonde Originals
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The owners moved steadily forward. By 2012 the building boasted 25 tenants, and in 2013, Globe Dye became one of the nine sites for the Hidden City Festival. Globe Dye Works continues its design-build-create legacy, housing several businesses including Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, Pink’s Inks, and Irwin Art Frames, as well as several local food manufacturers such as Rival Bros. Coffee, Weckerly’s Ice Cream, and Triangle Roasters. Several area organizations, including Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partners and Community Integrated Services, also call Globe Dye home.

    • Brian Giniewski moved his ceramics business to Globe Dye Works in 2017 and has since expanded to a 6,500 square-foot studio.
      Brian Giniewski moved his ceramics business to Globe Dye Works in 2017 and has since expanded to a 6,500 square-foot studio.
    • Pink's Inks' owners and operators Dylan Houser and Woody Kumetat have worked together since 2007.
      Pink's Inks' owners and operators Dylan Houser and Woody Kumetat have worked together since 2007.
    • Pink's Inks is a completely manual print shop, providing custom designs as well as screenprinting services.
      Pink's Inks is a completely manual print shop, providing custom designs as well as screenprinting services.
    • Brian Giniewski also makes dog bowls with help from his pup Jelly.
      Brian Giniewski also makes dog bowls with help from his pup Jelly.
    • Some of the poppy ceramic lamps made by Brian Giniewski at Globe Dye Works.
      Some of the poppy ceramic lamps made by Brian Giniewski at Globe Dye Works.
    • Stacey Lee Webber works with fine metal to create sculptures, jewelry, and accessories. She lives and works in Globe Dye.  Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
      Stacey Lee Webber works with fine metal to create sculptures, jewelry, and accessories. She lives and works in Globe Dye. Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
    • Stacey Lee Webber has lived in Globe Dye Works with husband Joseph Leroux, since 2011. Both also have studio spaces at Globe Dye.
      Stacey Lee Webber has lived in Globe Dye Works with husband Joseph Leroux, since 2011. Both also have studio spaces at Globe Dye.
    • Joseph Leroux, a mixed media artist, stands in front of some of his pieces.
      Joseph Leroux, a mixed media artist, stands in front of some of his pieces.
    • Artists/tenants Stacey Lee Webber and her Joseph Leroux's living room.
      Artists/tenants Stacey Lee Webber and her Joseph Leroux's living room.
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Birchtree Catering, a sustainable women-owned company, started as a two-person operation in 2008. After working in rental kitchens and hosting roving supper clubs, owners Allegra Derengowski and Rasa Stirbys Benefico built their commercial kitchen in Globe Dye Works in 2012. The award-winning company, which sources from small, local vendors (including Globe Dye tenant Weckerly’s Ice Cream and former tenant Cake Life Bake Shop), became Globe Dye’s exclusive caterer and unveiled the newly rehabbed event venue in December 2018.

The facility’s latest achievement? Converting the old factory boiler room into a full-fledged event venue for weddings and parties. 

    • Birchtree Catering's owners Allegra Derengowski and Rasa Stirbys Benefico. They built their commercial kitchen in Globe Dye Works in 2012.  Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
      Birchtree Catering's owners Allegra Derengowski and Rasa Stirbys Benefico. They built their commercial kitchen in Globe Dye Works in 2012. Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
    • The neon Globe Dye Works sign is now on display in the boiler room.
      The neon Globe Dye Works sign is now on display in the boiler room.
    • Open and flexible space inside the boiler room.
      Open and flexible space inside the boiler room.
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    • The original Globe Dye Works sign casts a reddish glow in the new party venue. Credit: Birchtree Catering/BeauMonde Originals
      The original Globe Dye Works sign casts a reddish glow in the new party venue. Credit: Birchtree Catering/BeauMonde Originals
    • This interior space, shot in 2008, is now Birchtree Catering's kitchen.
      This interior space, shot in 2008, is now Birchtree Catering's kitchen.
    • View from the top of the open space in the former Globe Dye Works boiler room. Credit: Birchtree Catering/BeauMonde Originals
      View from the top of the open space in the former Globe Dye Works boiler room. Credit: Birchtree Catering/BeauMonde Originals
    • Birchtree Catering shows what a blank wall could look like in a former boiler room.
      Birchtree Catering shows what a blank wall could look like in a former boiler room.
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The renovated space hearkens to the facility’s heritage with its original brick interior and dyeing equipment, and is outfitted with new walls, bathrooms, and metal railings. An open-air courtyard will become the entrance to the space this summer. 

Derengowski doesn’t just run her business at Globe — it set the foundation for her family. "Globe Dye Works has been such an important backdrop to my personal and professional life," Derengowski said. 

She met her husband, a metalsmith, there. She got married there. And, when their family grew, they moved from her husband's small live-work studio into a larger space. They got to know Frankford and joined the local business association and started volunteering at the food pantry to help close the gap between their food waste and those in need in the neighborhood. Their daughter will start Pre-K at Frankford Friends School in the fall, where the family attends Quaker meetings.

On top of that, Birchtree contracts with many fellow businesses in the building. "We feel like the community that we've built inside of Globe will last a lifetime," Derengowski said. "The relationships we've formed because of Globe will have long-reaching effects. 

    • The yet-to-be-finished courtyard inside the former Globe Dye Works building. Credit: Birchtree Catering/BeauMonde Originals
      The yet-to-be-finished courtyard inside the former Globe Dye Works building. Credit: Birchtree Catering/BeauMonde Originals
    • A view from the boiler room at Globe Dye Works.  Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
      A view from the boiler room at Globe Dye Works. Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
    • The neon Globe Dye Works sign takes center stage in the newly rehabbed boiler room.  Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
      The neon Globe Dye Works sign takes center stage in the newly rehabbed boiler room. Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
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The final piece of the Globe puzzle: Globe Dye Works applied for and received a $1 million RACP grant in 2017 to convert over 20,000 square feet of undeveloped space into additional commercial and residential studios. The development team spent the past year working on fulfilling the requirements of the grant and construction is slated to begin later this year.

About the author

Diana Lu

Diana has spent more than ten years in the non-profit and public sectors working on urban development issues including environmental justice, design-based manufacturing, and community and economic development.  Prior to joining PlanPhilly, Diana worked as the Director of Partnerships and Outreach for 10,000 Small Businesses, a public-private initiative focused strengthening local businesses through revenue generation and local job creation.  Follow Diana on instagram @dianaluwho.


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