If Decadent Creations, D’Anu Wine Bar, the Collective Kitchen, and Friday Night Bites were the best of local chef and super-entrepreneur Mindy Simmons, we would be wowed. But they weren’t. At the Grand Opening of her new venture, the Collective Market, we get to see the most ambitious and creative business that Simmons has created yet; and it is something to behold.
Work has been ongoing for months behind the papered-up windows of the old cement building at 3rd and Lincoln in Downtown Hillsboro. Word of a market or small intimate grocery was out, and many good things were being said. Now the much anticipated Grand Opening has come and to really appreciate what the Collective Market is, you simply have to go!
Today at the opening, I sat and enjoyed one of the best soups I have ever had and I had a front-row seat to watch the smiles and expressions of those who came in. All were wowed and delighted at the vast array of colors, smells, hand-crafted items, and one-of-a-kind offerings. In a very Wonkaesque moment, Simmons has delivered across the board. No longer do we have to wonder at what she has been up to.
The owner of this incredible business spent the grand opening lunch making sure the food was delivered and exceptional. The staff was spot on, working hand in hand with her.
Touring the entire store, I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of happiness and gratitude. What she has done is tap into the potential of downtown Hillsboro and the people who love it in a very personal way. I found a peace lily for one of my 3 sons to offer as a housewarming gift. For another, fresh Capicola from Olympia Provisions. And for the youngest one, some unique desserts I have never seen before. On to the bread and cheeses. More wow factor awaited with freshly baked sourdough and local swiss. Wine, veggies, nuts, milk; all local- all wonderful. By the time I hit the check-out stand, my arms were full, and I had worked up a pretty decent hunger.
Should I eat? Of course. Simmons, at her best, was working like the master she is in the grill, which is visible from the bar area. The Collective Short Rib Chili was calling my name. I had a fresh-squeezed juice and happily sat, breathing in the goodness of the place. White walls, pleasing graphics, the sounds of people laughing. Rays of sun danced across the entryway and onto the back wall where a graphic proudly boasts “Literally Made Right Here.” The food and atmosphere in the market culminated in a very Zen-like experience.
Click on the photos above to scroll through our gallery.
What Mindy and her staff have done is more than bring Groceries back to historic downtown Hillsboro, much more. They have returned us to the days of the butcher and baker and candlestick maker. So many of us have longed for the days of purchasing meat, milk, and eggs that are fresh off the farms that surround Hillsboro. Connecting to vegetables, bread, chocolates, and cheeses that someone who loves their craft made- and having those things in our hands to go to our homes. It is an ethereal time-traveling experience, and I loved it. Everyone did. Believe me, folks, you will too.
We hope you all go and shop at the Collective Market at 173 NE 3rd. This is just a transformative place and, we predict one that will set the tone for what is to come next in our Downtown. What a fantastic thing it is to see someone living out their dreams. The sweat and blood and time and all the money, lots and lots of money, will pay off for both Simmons and for all the rest of us too.
Collective Market is a total win and Simmons has struck gold. Thanks to the staff, the investors, and all of the vendors, growers, and producers who made this possible.
Thanks Dirk for your great article – Sandie & I had the opportunity to tour, taste & shop on Saturday night and we felt the same way. It’s truly a Build It & They Will Come kind of place! Congratulations to Mindy & Aaron and her staff!
Had my first Italian sandwich on a garlic parm bagel a couple of days ago. Had a bagel with salmon cream cheese this morning. A Fruity Pebbles Rice Krispies treat and a Thin Mint Ring Ding followed. May be going there for boozy slush this afternoon. It’s the best bagel in Washington County (for what that plaudit means) and it’s the kind of deli/grocer I’ve missed since moving out here. It was like coming home, and I thanked Mindy for it. The work she and her crew have done downtown have been transformative. Downtown has some strong tentpoles and people who want to make it all stronger. It would be nice if some of the landlords could see the potential that this handful of owners seees.
P.S. I like the direction many of Hillsboro’s markets have taken. Collective, Bennett, Blooming Junction and Helvetia are all pulling from local farms and providers. Even the Grocery Outlet sold the last of Blooming Hill Winery’s supply (RIP Jim). Every day is a farmers market at their stores, and it’s an approach that shops in McMinnville, Manzanita, Astoria, Hood River, Yachats and elsewhere have used to great success. Hillsboro is ringed with farms and wedged between two new wine appellations. The markets know that better than anyone.