Irene and Jack Banning came to Pine Plains in 2008. They built, Black Sheep Hill Farm where they breed Black Welsh Mountain sheep for meat and wool; raise heritage pigs for meat; chickens for eggs; and grow summer vegetables for local markets.

They fell in love with both the town and the people of Pine Plains and purchased a struggling cafe in 2012.  Together with Amy Benack they have transformed the cafe into the thriving Pine Plains Platter.  In 2013 they managed to interest the architect Doug Larson in creating the historical Pine Plains mural on the sidewall of “the Platter”.

In their latest endeavor Irene and Jack purchased the building that now houses the Pine Plains Emporium as well as a barbershop.  Their intent is to honor the history of the building and to make the Emporium a place to find everyday necessities and interesting merchandise for locals and visitors alike.