Home News and Features Meadow Mart Reopening: Softly, But Without Soft-Serve

Meadow Mart Reopening: Softly, But Without Soft-Serve

James Findlay-Shirras and Jean Myung Hamilton have reopened the Meadow Mart on Elm Street. Photo by Leah Greenberg
Customers can again shop at Meadow Mart on Elm Street in Montpelier, which has been closed — until recently — since its sale by the Demers family last fall. Although it is deliberately a “soft” opening, the neighborhood mainstay is staffed, open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and adding new inventory daily, said James Findlay-Shirras, a UVM-educated landscape architect who co-owns the store with his spouse Jean Myung Hamilton. Myung Hamilton has long experience in the food industry, from farming to distribution, preparation, and sales. 

The couple offers fresh, drip-brewed coffee at the store, featuring the Vermont Peak brand roasted by Big Gear in Northfield. Initially, the store inventory is broadly ‘convenience’ oriented, with an ample variety of beverages and snacks in place. And given the already warm start to the summer season, ice is available, as well as nightcrawlers for those heading out to fish.

Myung Hamilton brings experience with her mother’s Dorset-based business specializing in Korean foods currently sold at several southern Vermont farmers markets. While physical limitations of the building have precluded operating a deli, Findlay-Shirras said they plan food preparation at an off-site kitchen and will have a grab-and-go selection of Korean dishes.

Myung Hamilton is a Middlebury College graduate whose current day job is with the Land Access and Opportunity Board as director of program development. Her previous experience includes Vermont Everyone Eats (during the COVID-19 pandemic), Shiftmeals, establishing EBT access at farmers markets, and the Knoll Garden at Middlebury College. She also has hands-on agricultural experience having worked at an organic farm in Hawaii.

Findlay-Shirras noted that along with hiring staff, setting up a computer-based inventory point-of-sale system has been key to getting operations underway.

Asked about the possible return of soft-serve ice cream at the store, Findlay-Shirras said the equipment was not included in their purchase of the property, but is a potential feature they have kept in mind.

The couple lives in Montpelier and has two children in elementary school and a two-year old daughter. 

Please note: an earlier article about the Meadow Mart in The Bridge from November, 2023, reported that Peter Colman, owner of the AR Market in Barre and Vermont Salumi, would be involved in the management of the Meadow Mart, but that is no longer the case.