Plainview IndustriesSome of the best ideas arrive out of necessity. For local entrepreneur Chris Hall, his “aha” moment came the morning after a frustrating start to a family visit.
Hall had the spent the previous 12 hours driving to his sister’s home in Kansas. The last thing his weary eyes could do once he finally reached her neighborhood was find a tiny address on a home he’d never seen. So, he drove up and down her street, slowly, while shining a flashlight at homes as he drove by.
By the second home he came to, he realized what he was doing probably wasn’t the best idea.
“The front porch light of that second home came on pretty quickly,” Hall recalls.
Not wanting to disturb any other neighbors or garner suspicion, he called his sister and asked her to stand in her garage and flash her lights when he drove by.
Still bothered by the previous night’s events, Hall continued to contemplate his dilemma the next morning at breakfast.
“I remember saying something to her about if only her address had been lit up by a spotlight or something,” Hall said.
Then the lightbulb in his head turned on … literally.
Having experience with a fairly new technology, electroluminescent wire (EL wire), Hall came up with the idea for an illuminated address plaque. He enlisted the help of his friend, Barry Gill and the two founded Plainview Industries.
Their illuminated address plaques can be seen on homes in a few neighborhoods in Charlotte.
“Everybody that sees them gets excited about them,” Gill said.
Hall has spent the past two years laying the groundwork for their business venture, which they are starting out of Hall’s garage. Both work full-time jobs, choosing to build Plainview Industries in their spare time.
“We’re just now to a point where we can put a product in the customer’s hands,” Hall said.  “The technology we’re using is fairly new. We’ve managed to keep the price down so everyone can afford them.”
Hall said each new generation of EL wire produced increases brightness and useful life. The wire is strung through the address plaque, which can plug into an external outlet. Hall said he is currently testing solar powered address plaques. During the day, the black address numbers against the white plaque really stand out. But, when it gets dark is when the plaque really shines.
The plaques are made from all composite material and powered from a small cell phone charger — which is included — and use very little power. A covered 110-volt outlet is needed.
In addition to being useful for visitors and homeowners, Hall said he has heard from a number of first responders who are excited at the possibility of being able to find a home quickly in an emergency situation.
For more information about Plainview Industries and its address plaques, visit or email