A small dream to open a local market and deli started when kidney transplant recipient Stephen Jackson was blessed with a new lease on life. That, coupled with the need to provide the community with alternative food items, led to the soon-to-open Jackson Market and Deli.

The plans for the Jackson Market and Deli began as a small deli grocery store, but Stephen and his wife Sheri say that the community is in need of more options.

“We started out doing a small grocery store, and then—through talking to different people—we found out that there is such a huge need, locally, for gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian foods,” says Sheri. “I have a lot of friends who have major health issues and they’re on gluten-free diets.”

The closest grocery store is about four and a half miles away, says Sheri, and low-income families do not all own cars.

“If you need something, do you really want to ride a bus or drive when you could go around the corner?” asks Sheri.

The grocery store, soon-to-be located at 150 High Street in the old Elder Beerman building, will carry staple grocery items such as fresh produce, and a full deli counter with a pre-order option by call or fax.

The 2,688-square-foot store will share the building with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Artspace. “We want to work together and make downtown Hamilton a destination: a place to work, play, everything,” says Sheri.

Being a part of the revitalization of downtown Hamilton is a main goal for the Jacksons, and they are excited that it is a team effort with other businesses.

“If you get one business starting to come into downtown, you’ll draw other businesses in,” says Stephen. “Other businesses will come when they see the success of one already here. And we’re not trying to compete with anybody, we’re trying to compliment.”