Flour and Salt Owners Open MOMs, New Business in Hamilton

Flour and Salt owners and Colgate alumni Britty Buonocore ‘12, MA’13 and her husband Brendan O’Connor ‘09 recently announced the upcoming opening of a second business in Hamilton, Martha’s on Madison (MOMs).  Located at 5 Madison Street across from the Colgate Inn and next to NBT Bank in the historic Roth building, MOMs will be split into a cheese, meat and specialty grocery store on one side, with a tavern on the other.

Despite many small businesses closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Buonocore and O’Connor explained their willingness to take the risk of opening a new business due to the supportive community they have built through operating Flour and Salt. Buonocore and O’Connor have always admired the Roth building and when the space came up for rent, they knew they would be able to create something special in the community.  

“We are just trying to seize an opportunity to fill a space in the village. Brendan and I care a lot about Hamilton and when opening Flour and Salt, part of the incentive was creating the community that we want to be a part of. That was a business we wanted so we started it and it’s the same thing here: this is a business that we really want so we are just going to start it rather than wait for somebody else to do it,” Buonocore said.  

MOMs plans to open the grocery portion of their store this spring and their tavern in the fall. Their mission for their grocery side is to sell products many community members travel outside of town in order to purchase. They even have an option on their website where people may submit recommendations for products that they think should be sold at their store.

“The goal is to decrease the consumer footprint of people who live in this immediate area. We really don’t want to be selling anything that anybody else in Hamilton is already selling,” Buonocore said. “The hope with the tavern is to have a really small menu. We’ll do one soup, one salad, one sandwich and then some savory and sweet pies that you can order and eat at the bar.” 

Despite facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Buonocore feels more prepared opening MOMs after her experience running Flour and Salt for the past four years.

“It’s been a lot faster than it was starting Flour and Salt because we are going around the block a second time. I know all of the things to check off this time where with Flour and Salt I felt like every time I turned around someone was saying ‘And do you know that you have to do this?’ ‘And you also have to apply for this.’” 

To get MOMs up and running, Buonocore and O’Connor ran a kickstarter with a goal to raise $12,000 and rewards such as tote bags, t-shirts, adding a photo of your mom to the Mom Knows Best wall, and an engraved plate with your name on one of the bar stools. The kickstarter raised over $31,000 with over 200 backers.

“We are taking a risk and we obviously made less this year with Flour and Salt because of the pandemic, so we figured we would take a shot on the kickstarter and see if people were interested in pledging. We were going to be looking for loan funding and we still will but it’s going to be significantly less than what we were originally going to have to take out because so many people have rallied behind it, so it’s pretty awesome,” Buonocore said.

Buonocore explained that the name “Martha’s on Madison” was chosen to honor her late grandfather and also because of its alliterative aspect.

“Martha is my grandmother who I’ve actually never met, but she was married to my grandfather who I was extremely close to who I lost about a year and a half ago. We were trying to figure out a way to honor him and he was totally in love with my grandmother. While we were going through names I said ‘Martha’s on Madison’ and a friend of mine was like ‘do we think it’s weird or do we love that the acronym is ‘MOMs?’ and I said, ‘oh no we love it, it’s great.’ I just became a mom and [Martha] also happens to be my husband’s stepmom’s mother’s mother so both families have that name and it just kept getting more and more meaningful,” Buonocore said.

Colgate Sophomore Amelia Seasholtz is looking forward to the opening of MOMs and trying out their unique products.

“Being where we are in Central New York, it’s definitely difficult to find cheeses and meats that are of the higher quality to treat yourself. I’m really excited about the tavern to have another restaurant option in town and having a grocery store that is even more specialized with global products is even more enticing,” Seasholtz said.

To generate revenue before their full opening, MOMs is selling pies for delivery on Tuesdays and Fridays and temporarily using Flour and Salt as a commissary kitchen. 

Colgate Junior Evie Unger-Harquail, who received an order from MOMs upon her arrival to Colgate for the spring semester, raved about the taste and quality of the Cranberry Crumble and Chicken Pot Pies.

“I’m really excited to see [MOMs] develop. I think Flour and Salt is such an iconic place in Hamilton and I’m happy to see them succeeding when it’s been a really hard year for a lot of other small businesses,” Unger-Harquail said.

Colgate Sophomore Emma Silverman, a charcuterie fanatic, expressed excitement about the opening of MOMs.

“Recently, on social media charcuterie and cheese boards have become very popular. I think that MOMs is really seizing on a niche that’s trendy and I think it’s something that could be very lasting. I brought a cheese board to campus and it’s a fun weekend activity. Especially because we can’t go to many places right now so to have a business in town that you can get something and then come back and put it together, make something yourself, and enjoy it afterwards is just really refreshing and exciting,” Silverman said. “I would love to know how to get a job there.”

Silverman also appreciated MOMs core mission to support other small businesses in the area by sourcing decor from antique stores in Bouckville and using seasonal ingredients from Common Thread farm.

 “They’re opening up with a really good message of community and in the spirit of family,” Silverman said. “I think it makes Hamilton a more vibrant town.”

Seasholtz added her appreciation for Buonocore and O’Connor’s love for Hamilton and the Colgate Community.

“You can see how much they love Hamilton and the Colgate community and they’re creating that community within Flour and Salt and MOMs that everyone can enjoy. I think that’s what the owners want out of MOMs is for people to come together so they can meet us and enjoy food together,” Seasholtz said.