North Market Spices has been flavoring dishes from the savory to the sweet from its stall in the bustling North Market for nearly six years.
Ben Walters opened up the spice shop for the reason many businesses begin – he couldn’t find the spices he wanted so he decided to find a way to supply them himself.
He moved to the city from Arizona in 2007. Living in the Arena District, Walters frequented the North Market, but was hauling it out (and fighting rush hour traffic) to get to the stores with the spices that warranted being included in his homemade barbecue rub. Then, over a bowl of pho with his friends and family at the Market, he said he hoped someone put in a spice store, and decided that someone would be him.
North Market Spices retail operation opened in August of 2010 mixing and packaging spices in half of what is now the Pistacia Vera space. Since then it has been nothing but growth for the operation. First the spice seller took over its neighboring stall before a move across the Market to the central entrance near Jeni’s.
The wholesale business picked up as well, with the addition of suppling restaurants and adding e-commerce about a year ago. The operation expanded first into a storage unit, then a warehouse, and is in the process of adding another 1,800 square-feet of warehouse space.
The jars and packets of spices that line the stall’s shelves cover the classic to the unusual, and blends for everything in between.
“We definitely have things you are not going to find elsewhere,” Walters says.
Their offerings go far beyond salt and pepper. The website boasts an impressive 44 different kinds of salts. Peppercorns get treatments like soaking and smoking, and include oddities like Grains of Paradise.
“We make loads of our own blends,” Walters says. “Creativity in different blends is really what sets us apart.”
Their 10-ish different barbecue blends are among the more popular items. There are also classics – poultry seasoning, apple pie spice, chai, mulling spice – and blends for Bloody Mary’s, hot cocoa, curries, fajitas, Italian dishes and much more.
Local restauranteurs and food artisans have taken notice of the quality product. North Market Spices has developed relationships with a bevy of local food producers, from Katalina’s, North Country Charcuterie, Double Comfort and many food trucks, to some soon-to-open spots like the Butcher & Grocer in Grandview and Fetty’s Food Truck.
Walters says their location in the market – a space many local chefs already frequent – and their willingness to work on custom blends have helped foster so many relationships.
Much exposure has also come from North Market and North Market Spices memberships with Experience Columbus.
Walters says that the business that the organization brings to Columbus is staggering. Experience Columbus has not only been able to spread the spicy word in the city, but will sometimes take the stall’s blends across the country to trade shows and events.
Walters also finds the member database especially helpful.
“It puts me in great contact with many people throughout Columbus,” he says. It’s people that could be potential partners and customers.
— Experience Columbus’ vision is to be the leading force in creating and revealing the best of the Columbus experience to the world. Experience Columbus’ mission is to sell, market and promote the Destination Columbus experience to visitors. For more information on membership, click here. —
For more information on North Market Spices, visit northmarketspices.com.