When partners and food and beverage producers Ryan Chelak and Jules Lieff went looking for a production space, they came across a building at 98 Vine Street. While the space was larger than they required for their businesses, they decided to take it. Now they are sharing the extra space with Hamilton makers with their first Vine Street Makers’ Market set to take place on March 30.
The two-storey red-brick building was once the home of Hamilton Pure Dairy, which opened in 1907 to provide healthy, safe and pure milk to the community. It has been home to other businesses over the year and now houses Vibe Kombucha and FitOrganiX.
Chelak is the founder of Vibe Kombucha, a craft brewer of raw, organic kombucha tea. Lieff founded FitOrganiX, a daily meal delivery system that uses local, organic ingredients. They will be using the second floor of the building for production.
The main floor will be open to the community as studio and event space. While Chelak and Lieff are still determining exactly how they will use the space, they know they want it to cater to creatives in Hamilton.
“In talking to a number of artists in the community, in Hamilton, there seems to be a need, particularly where we are downtown, for creative space. All of the workshop, event spaces, they're all pricing a lot of these people out of the market,” Chelak explained.
The desire for space can be seen in how the market sold out of vendor space within a day and a half. By providing space at an accessible price point, Vine Street Market is allowing emerging makers the chance to bring their product to the public.
The markets are currently slated to be monthly, but Chelak said that they may change depending on the demand. Starting in May, they will also host a bimonthly thrifted, vintage market.
However, the main floor will be more than just market space. At the back of the main floor, there will be collaborative work space for artists to work out of. This would also allow artists to have wall space in order to display their work for clients.
Vibe Kombucha and FitOrganiX will also be selling their products at 98 Vine Street. Chelak and Lieff hope to have a cafe counter where people can buy their products, along with food and beverages from other local producers.
Another important use for the space will be the workshops that makers can host. Having gotten into kombucha by giving workshops, Chelak appreciates the opportunity to share skills with others.
“You know sharing that knowledge is really what community is all about, whether it's making something to eat or drink or making… music or arts. People need outlets like that, maybe now more than ever when everything is fast-paced and we're so immersed in technology and our work… [T]hat time to create it is important,” Chelak said.
The market will provide an opportunity for Hamiltonians to interact with and buy from local makers. While there is no restriction on where the makers hail from, the market will primarily host local creatives.
Chelak believes that the local creatives are leaders in Hamilton’s resurgence. However, more than helping to grow the city, Hamilton artists are also providing a welcoming and collaborative space for emerging artists to develop.
“Hamilton seems to be, from my perspective…, a city that is collaboration over competition… And I think when you have that mindset where you're looking to promote each other and/or share information or opportunities… then people are more apt to do the same back in return and the adage that when you first give and then you'll receive, it's really what it's all about,” Chelak said.
By creating an environment where artists can work together, Vine Street Market is joining the tradition of collaboration within Hamilton’s artistic community. Having this new space for makers to make and sell their art will allow more individuals with small businesses to flourish in this rapidly changing city. In turn, Vine Street Market will grow as well.