New “Nabors” Move into Highland Square

Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood is home to a brand new Mustard Seed Market and Cafe that opens to the public Saturday, May 16 at 8 a.m. (7 a.m. café). The project is especially exciting for Abe and Gabe Nabors, second-generation store owners. The store’s location is 867 West Market Street, just across from the historic Highland Square Theatre.

“We grew up two blocks away; this is our family neighborhood,” says Abe, who will be the Store Director for this third location. “Mustard Seed helped to provide us with everything we’ve known. We’ll work hard to exceed the high benchmarks set by our parents.” Margaret and Phillip Nabors started Mustard Seed in 1981.

The bright, open space has a modern, sleek design inside and out with energy-efficient touches such as C02 refrigeration and LED lighting and a sizeable rooftop garden, currently planted with lush succulents, that eventually will be planted with vegetables and herbs.DSC_0754

The store’s footprint is 13,000 square feet with an additional 3,000 square foot patio. Downstairs are all of the typical elements you would expect to see, including a “Market Kitchen” area offering an extensive selection of prepared and grab and go foods, soup, salad and cold foods bars. A build-your-own pizza station will allow customers to order a custom pizza and have it baked in three minutes in a Turbo-Chef oven.  The store offers fresh meats and seafood, an ample beer and wine selection, and health, wellness and beauty products that meet Mustard Seed’s Golden Standards, which you’ll find depicted on a wall mural as you enter the store.

DSC_0742Upstairs, the Highland Square location makes a real splash. Customers will enjoy an airy, glass-enclosed space for dining, that also includes a bar area. There are 150 seats inside and another 100 can enjoy alfresco dining on the wrap-around patio. The best part ­– you can purchase your food, or a bottle of wine (no corkage fees apply) and head upstairs to enjoy the sights of the lush garden environment and the bustling city block beyond.

Like other locations, the store has plenty of classroom space for its numerous educational programs and events. Dr. Michael Schwartz, an immune health expert, will offer a lecture at the newest location on Monday, May 18 at 6 p.m.

DSC_0731As the largest locally-owned organic and natural grocery store, Mustard Seed Market has established relationships with local organic farmers going back more than 25 years. Gabe, who handles marketing, community outreach and a host of other day-to-day roles, commented “natural and organic is in the mainstream now, but that doesn’t mean everyone is doing it right. The most important thing to us is to educate our customers on how their choices affect their health and the environment and to help them understand the difference.”

Founders Margaret and Phillip Nabors were present as a flurry of preparation occurred to get ready for the public opening, but stayed in the background as Abe and Gabe gave tours. Margaret is largely retired and spends most of her time  growing organic blueberries at Blueberry Hill Farm just outside of Loudonville. (See our past story on Blueberry Hill). Phillip is still very hands-on with the business.

DSC_0727Margaret was quick to express satisfaction over having both sons decide to take over the family business. She knows the future direction of her family legacy is in good hands. “We are thrilled that Abe and Gabe wanted to work for Mustard Seed. We never told them they had to do it. But this is their lifestyle and they’ve been involved their whole lives.”

Stop in at the new Highland Square location of Mustard Seed Market beginning Saturday, May 16. Enjoy a ribbon cutting for the café at 7 a.m. and a second for the first floor grocery at 8 a.m.

— Lisa Sands