Hamilton Economic Development

With needle and thread in downtown Hamilton

Needlework in Hamilton Ontario Invest Investment Business DowntownYou can buy a needle and thread downtown again. Fabric, too. If you don’t know how to sew, you also can learn how.

The just-opened Needlework is a boutique fabric store and sewing room. Like the hip ones on Queen West in Toronto as well as London and New York, Needlework caters to a growing crowd of people who want to make it themselves.

Textile student Kate Hunter and friend Liz Simpson opened the store at 174 James St. N. after a year of planning, and a few “am I crazy?” doubts and worries, according to Hunter.

Needlework sells fabric and sewing supplies, including needles, thread, scissors, patterns, zippers and buttons. Since Eaton’s closed 13 years ago, stitchers in the King and James area had to trek to Ottawa Street just for a thimble.What makes Needlework unique is the classes they hold — from basic sewing to more skilled projects such as making shirts and pants. The three-hour sessions on evenings and weekends are $45, plus materials.

Hunter and Simpson will teach some of the basic courses and specialists have been recruited to teach quilting, felting, embroidery, even moccasin making.

Needlework is equipped with five Bernina sewing machines, a large work table, and an ironing station. Sewing machines can also be rented for $6 an hour for individual projects.

Opening Needlework is a leap of faith for the two twentysomethings. Hunter is a few months away from graduating Sheridan College’s textile design course. Simpson is self-taught in sewing and textile crafts.

Though it’s a passion for both women, they’re learning about the financial side of running a business. They received a $10,000 grant from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.

“We had to make a business plan, and that really forced us to think through our goals and expectations,” says Hunter. A loan from “the bank of my parents” also helped, Hunter adds.

Equipment and furnishings were bought second hand, and the pair worked long hours painting and decorating the attractive space.

“The response has been amazing, especially on social media,” says Simpson. After mentions on Twitter and Facebook, they had a steady stream of visitors during the February Art Crawl.

“We were getting asked if we hemmed pants too. We sent people next door to Olinda’s for that work,” says Simpson.

A mini textile row might be developing on James North, next to Needlework, Olinda’s Fashion Studio does alterations, designs and dressmaking, and further north, Hansen and Lubbers make drapes and furniture coverings.

Fabric at Needlework is cotton, some of it organic with water-based dyes. The selection is a colourful blend of vintage and modern prints. Both women like the work of American textile design Amy Butler, and carry her whimsical fabrics. The average price is $14 a metre.

Visit iloveneedlework.com for a list of sewing classes and other projects.

Click here to read the full story from the Hamilton Spectator.

Columbian Chemicals announces major Hamilton expansion

Columbian Chemicals Hamilton Ontario Canada

A major expansion is in store for a Hamilton company.

Columbian Chemicals announced Tuesday it has “entered the initial phase of expansion evaluation” of its local plant as demand for its products rises.

In a news release, the company said major global tire manufacturers have announced significant expansion programs in North America driving expected demand growth for the carbon black made in Hamilton beyond current production capacity.

The company did not reveal the value of the expansion or size of the project.

“Birla Carbon is committed to supporting our customers’ growth plans,” said John Loudermilk, Columbian’s President, North America. “The Hamilton Plant’s outstanding history of producing world class products, the proximity to our customer base, and the excellent talent pool in the Ontario region position us well to provide that support.”

Local plant manager Brian Young added: “This is an exciting opportunity for the Hamilton Plant and a testament to our outstanding workforce and the Hamilton Region.”

Columbian Chemicals is a division of Birla Carbon, the world leading carbon black business of the Adyta Birla Group, a $35B global conglomerate.

The company said it will begin the necessary permitting processes along with front end engineering in the first quarter of 2012 to confirm feasibility of new production capacity along with a state of the art energy center.

Phase 1 of the investment is expected to include an estimated 45,000 tonnes of new carbon black production capacity along with an energy centre designed to leverage efficiencies of the plant to supply electricity for both internal and external uses.

Click here to read the full story from the Hamilton Spectator.  Photo: Ron Albertson/The Hamilton Spectator

Celebration of Business Announcement on CHML

Michael Marini, Marketing Coordinator with Hamilton Economic development and David Adames, President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce joined Bill Kelly on CHML to discuss a big day in Hamilton – March 26, the Celebration of Business.

Click here to listen.

McMaster University receives $30M Donation

A family foundation is donating $30 million to McMaster University to accelerate innovations in health research, education and patient care.

The donation by the Marta and Owen Boris Foundation was announced Monday at McMaster in Hamilton, where the Boris family lives.

Click here to read the full story.


Hamilton Highlights Newsletter – January 2012

In the January 2012 newsletter of Hamilton Highlights…

  • Downtown looking up…again!
  • Franchisees Wanted
  • BNN Features Clean-Tech Company
  • Calling All Good News

Click here to read the January 2012 Hamilton Highlights newsletter.  If you are interested in signing up for the Hamilton Highlights newsletter, click here.


City department takes away four economic development awards

Hamilton’s economic development division collected four business development awards at the Economic Developers Council of Ontario annual conference Thursday night.

Click here to read full story.


Glen Norton with Indi101

Urban Renewal manager Glen Norton joined Gunner & Matt Jelly on Indi101FM to chat about the $650,000 grocery store incentive.

Click here to listen.

Glen Norton with CHML – Jan 30, 2012

The City of Hamilton’s manager of Urban Renewal Glen Norton joined CHML’s Bill Kelly on January 30, 2012 to discuss the City’s plan to provide a $650,000 incentive for a new grocery store in the downtown core.

Click here to listen.

City to offer $650,000 grocery store prize

This is one heck of a grocery store coupon.

The city has budgeted a one-time $650,000 prize to someone willing to bring a grocery store to Hamilton’s downtown.

The details of the incentive have yet to be approved by council but the plan by staff is to open a request for proposals in May, asking proponents to outline their proposed location, size of the store, the breadth of product offerings, price points and any related services offered such as dry cleaning.

Click here to read the full story.

Businesses flocking downtown

Ivan Mavrinac has joined a race downtown.

The owner of I.M. Leathers shifted his business from the corner of Ray and Hunter, where it was located for 35 years, to King Street East near Ferguson.  His is among almost three dozen businesses that decided to call downtown home in 2011.  Mavrinac, who specializes in creating customized leather suits for motorcycle racers, says he’s enjoyed his move to the core.

Click here to read the full story.




Ranked Canada's most diversified economy, home to Canada's busiest multi-modal cargo airport, the busiest port on the Canadian Great Lakes, and centrally located within a one hour drive to Toronto, Waterloo and the Niagara/US Border, Hamilton is at the center of it all. With two internationally renowned post-secondary institutions in the city (surrounded by 23 other), a diverse and learned workforce and both ample greenfield and urban sites upon which to build, we're ready for your investment.

Welcome to unstoppable.