Natural Foods Merchandiser
Mustard Seed Market looking up with new store's rooftop, added community value and more

Mustard Seed Market looking up with new store's rooftop, added community value and more

Retailer of the Year new store award nominee Mustard Seed Market and Cafe strives for accessibility in many ways with its latest location.

When the Nabors family decided to open a new Mustard Seed Market and Café in Akron, Ohio, it was all about the neighborhood. The new, 23,000-square-foot store and café opened on May 16 in the Highlands Square neighborhood is just two blocks from where second-generation owners and brothers Abraham and Gabe Nabors grew up.

Opening the new grocery store is a dream come true in terms of helping his neighbors, Abraham Nabors says. After a previous neighborhood grocery store closed 12 years ago nearby, Nabors saw single moms he knew lugging home groceries on the bus.

“We want to build a health food store for the people, not just the privileged,” Nabors says. “And it has been an economic shot in the arm in the neighborhood.”

Three innovative concepts that help make Mustard Seed’s new store a success:

A plant-filled rooftop, a wrap-around outdoor balcony and a bar and lounge area. Customers love the plant-filled rooftop, which helps lower the building’s energy needs. They also love the 9,000-square-foot upstairs café with a wraparound outdoor balcony and an L-shaped bar and a lounge area with a fireplace.

Customers can bring their grocery store purchases upstairs to the stylish eating area. Diners also can head straight to the mezzanine level with its full-service café, where they order, receive a number and sit down in the open seating area. Sushi, salad from the salad bar, sandwiches, pizza and wine by the glass are just a few of the options. “It’s packed all the time. It has turned into a hot spot,” Fiume says.

A standout in the community. The grocery store hosts an open mike night—free entertainment to customers. A banquet room with floor-to-ceiling windows on the southwest corner of the store also is outfitted with a mike, and the latest equipment needed to host intimate corporate gatherings.

Bonus. Not only is the store doing well, but the surrounding neighborhood real estate also is increasing in value. The Nabors family started Mustard Seed with humble beginnings 34 years ago—dad Phil helping with the construction of the original store and mom Margaret buying an industrial-size pot to make vegetarian soup to sell. These days, Margaret runs the family’s organic blueberry farm, Phil pulls double-duty at the farm and the store, and Abraham and Gabe continue to grow the business.

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