Downtown Bureau

Mustard Seed Finds a Home

At a public event on Friday night at The Staircase Theatre, organizers unveiled their location: 460 York Boulevard, on the north side of York between Inchbury and Locke.

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 23, 2013

this article has been updated

The Mustard Seed Co-operative Grocery has reached an important milestone in its campaign to open its grocery store in Hamilton. At a public event on Friday night at The Staircase Theatre, organizers unveiled their location: 460 York Boulevard, on the north side of York between Inchbury and Locke.

Mustard Seed location announcement at The Staircase (Image Credit: Jeff Tessier)
Mustard Seed location announcement at The Staircase (Image Credit: Jeff Tessier)

The store, formerly Grace Food Market, has everything the co-op organizers were looking for: the right zoning; a location close to the membership; an ideal size at 4,000 square feet; great visibility on a major road into Hamilton; easy access via walking, cycling, transit (with bus stops right out front) and driving; on-site parking; barrier-free entry; a walk-in cooler; 2,000 square feet of basement stock room; a loading dock; and an interior layout that will not require major renovations.

The organization takes possession on October 14 and hopes to have the store open before the end of the year. It has already raised half of the $560,000 it will need to open, and is encouraging people to become a member and make direct investments to complete its funding.

The Hamilton Future Fund has provisinally donated $25,000 in social investment capital (it still needs to be ratified by Council), and the Mustard Seed has an opportunity to win another $25,000 through the National Co-Op Challenge

It is also looking for volunteers to help get the store ready, including cleaning, painting, decorating, and stocking.

Mustard Seed store rendering
Mustard Seed store rendering

The Mustard Seed started in early 2012 when the City was discussing ways to encourage a new grocery store to open in downtown Hamilton. A group of citizens decided that the city also needs a co-operative grocery owned and run by members in the community to provide fresh, local and high quality foods with a real community orientation.

The co-op organization officially launched in November 2012 and, in less than a year, has managed to sign up 662 members as well as secure a location.

According to the organizers: "The mustard seed is an ancient metaphor for great things coming out of small beginnings – and with quite the kick. We believe the downtown food co-op will make a big impact on our city; starting small and growing into something that is part of the vitality of our downtown."

Organizer Graham Cubitt announces the location
Organizer Graham Cubitt announces the location

Update: updated to include the photo by Jeff Tessier.

Update 2: this article originally stated that the Mustard Seed received a $25,000 donation from Hamilton Community Foundation. This is incorrect: the Mustard Seed has actually received a $25,000 donation from Hamilton Future Fund, though the donation must still be ratified by Council. RTH regrets the error. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted September 23, 2013 at 10:05:20

I was thinking of becoming a member but the location is was out of my way i live south of Sherman near Gage Park

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By George (registered) | Posted September 23, 2013 at 10:47:47

What happened to Grace food market?

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By Anise (anonymous) | Posted September 23, 2013 at 17:25:42

Congrats to Mustard Seed Coop! Lots of people say, We should do something but it's alot harder to go through with it. People like this are what makes Hamilton great!

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted September 23, 2013 at 21:11:14

Wonderful for the co-op. But I will miss Grace Food Market, as it was the only West-end-ish source I for kimchi.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 23, 2013 at 21:47:33 in reply to Comment 92528

Speaking of kimchi, we recently had dinner at Alirang Korean restaurant at Main and Locke and it was delicious.

For retail purchases of kimchi, have you tried Nations yet?

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By George (registered) | Posted September 24, 2013 at 01:53:39 in reply to Comment 92529

What is kimchi?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 24, 2013 at 07:57:27 in reply to Comment 92542

It's an umbrella term for Korean lacto-fermented (i.e. fermented without vinegar, like how sauerkraut is made) pickled stuff. There is a very wide variety of different kimchi and I've only had a bit of exposure to it but what I've tried has been delicious.

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By Frankenrogers (registered) | Posted September 24, 2013 at 08:49:17

Glad to see they found a home and near me too. Graham and Emma Cubitt are amazing people, with great vision and values and frankly the impetus to act on what they are passionate about. If McHattie does run for Mayor I'm asking Graham to run for Ward 1 haha.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted September 25, 2013 at 15:46:23 in reply to Comment 92552

He'll be too busy and have to beat Matt Jelly!

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By basil-girl (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2013 at 23:56:25

I love living in Hamilton more every year, thanks to so many people who stand by their convictions. Thanks Graham and Emma, for a local foods co-op within biking distance of my home. I hope for more good change, if Brian McHattie becomes mayor: environment, public transit, built heritage, arts and culture, economic development and population growth without urban sprawl.

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By AvidShopper (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2014 at 09:09:14

i find the prices at this store to be a bit ridiculous. if you want to eat local and fresh, skip the middle man and go to the source.

#farmersfeedcities

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