Vintage Coffee is a cozy café on a stretch of King St E that has a growing hub of small businesses. Not only a place for a deadly cup of coffee, owner Lisa Stanton has also created an inviting, community atmosphere in the Stipley/Gibson/Stadium area.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
My husband, daughter and I moved to Hamilton 7 years ago from Toronto. Like many before and after us, we were priced out of Toronto, and wanted the opportunity to own a home and plant some roots. In the summer of 2015 I went to go check out a new coffee shop that opened up and immediately fell in love. I found out that the owner, Jesslyn Collins was hiring and I’ve been there ever since. I ended up buying Vintage 4 years later as Jesslyn moved on to new adventures. Then 8 months later COVID hit.
A lot goes into a cup of Vintage Coffee. What’s important about to you about being so hands-on?
Most of our current coffees are either Fair Trade or Direct Trade. It’s important to me to know that the coffee we are purchasing and selling has a direct benefit to all the people involved in getting that coffee from the farms and into our hands.
Vintage is a bit off the beaten path in the East End, what made you decide to open up in this area of the city?
Well, since I didn’t actually open the shop, I can’t speak to that directly, however, at the time of opening, there were not a lot of options for places to walk to for a coffee or something to eat. It didn’t take too long before we had built a pretty strong following of folks in the neighbourhood and beyond. Our little strip of King Street is now bustling and we’re so happy to have The Capitol, Mayan Retreat, Smash Salvage, Mimi’s Asian Gourmet and Stipley Barbershop as neighbours!
What kind of atmosphere can people expect when they come to your shop?
Is ‘community’ an atmosphere? Before COVID hit and changed the world, Vintage was very much a community hub. It was not uncommon for someone to walk in and know everyone in the shop. We have been very fortunate that even during this long, weird time that our community has rallied behind us and kept us going. There has been a lot of turnover in the neighbourhood over the last year, but each new face we see becomes a friend and I feel like that sense of community is still very strong, despite the challenges we’ve all faced over the last 2 years. I’m also probably pretty biased, but I believe I have the loveliest, kindest co-workers, so when people come into our shop they can expect to feel welcome, respected and loved. All that and a great cup of coffee.
You also sell your beans, where else can people buy your coffee?
Locally, our beans can be bought at Dundurn & Ottawa Market, Cake & Loaf, Flow Lifestyle Boutique, Cafe Oranje, Marci’s Bakery and others I’ve likely missed.
Besides your own place, where else do you like to eat and drink in Hamilton?
I know I’m going to forget a bunch of places but these are some of my favourites: The Ship, MaiPai, Mimi’s Asian Gourmet, Shorty’s, Caro, Kenzo, Osten Beerhall.
Any advice to small business owners wanting to open up shop in Hamilton?
My advice is to love Hamilton – it’s not a perfect city , but it is a special place and I am so proud to call it home. I like to think that everyone who comes to my shop feels that way, too.