Downtown Burlington’s newest addition

The newest edition to Burlington’s downtown community is a “cut above the rest”.  The Brant Street Butcher & Market opened its doors December 6th, and owner Ellen McWhinnie said that her business has taken off.  The New Brunswick transplant saw a need for a market in the downtown community.

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“I was upset that when I was living downtown that there wasn’t a market there,” she said. “[So] here I am with 20 years’ experience, who better to do it? I thought.”

The Brant Street Butcher & Market is located on the northeast corner of Brant and Lakeshore.  The building previously occupied by a bank is a few doors down from RC’s and directly across the street from the Waterfront Hotel.

McWhinnie brings in only meats, produce and most of her other products are from local farms. “95% of the product is mostly from southwestern Ontario farms,” she said.  One of McWhinnie’s partners is VG Meats, from Simcoe Ontario. All the product brought in is hormone free and anti – biotic free.

For the New Brunswick farm girl, it’s all about building a strong community.  Farming is close to her heart and she understands the benefits of supporting local farms, and the impact they have on small communities. “If a farm closes it’s not just losing one income or one family, you’re losing potentially 5 or 6 incomes. There’s more than just one person involved.” Farms provide jobs within communities and the loss of them can affect an entire town.

The Brant Street Butcher & Market is growing to become a successful downtown Burlington business.  McWhinnie was very successful through the holiday season.  She is continuing to put the finishing touches on her store, and will be bringing in a selection of Ontario and Quebec cheeses.

As well as several years in the food industry McWhinnie has also worked in non – profits.  Most of her work has been done with the elderly.  She continues to give back as much as she can. “If they can afford to come in and buy a piece of fresh meat, I’ll give them a potato. It’s the least I can do is to help them fill their plates.”

Some could argue that going to a butcher is too much.  Smaller shops like the Brant Street Butcher & Market are often more expensive as they buy local.  But McWhinnie says that price shouldn’t be in the conversation.  If you head there it’s for the excellent quality and community, cornerstones of the amazing businesses in downtown Burlington.

About the Author James Gike

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