Immigrant Spotlight: Julia Serna

Julia Serna loves to make fresh coffee for her customers in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, and she is proud to be the original vendor of fair-trade, organic coffee in the Market.


“She likes working with people, enjoys the opportunity to innovate and be creative, and is confident about the good quality of her product.”

When she first came to Canada, she held several factory jobs, but she didn’t really like the atmosphere. She explored the idea of opening her own business. She studied what businesses would be good for Hamilton. Also, she attended some workshops at Hamilton’s Small Business Enterprise Centre. After settling on the idea of working with her family in Colombia to import and sell coffee, Julia shopped around for a location, finally settling on the Farmers’ Market where she has operated for the past seven years.

Julia comes from a large, entrepreneurial family and has always liked business and people. Julia’s independent spirit and creativity are well-suited to business ownership.

Working in the market has been something of a struggle for Julia: before the market renovation, her tiny stall had no running water. At first, she was not allowed to sell cups of coffee, only the beans. Also, she was denied stall space in the newly-renovated market. She believes it was the outcry of her supporters, namely through a petition and letters to the City of Hamilton from regular patrons, that secured her a stall in the end. Now she competes with several other coffee vendors in the Market, but she continues to have a loyal customer base.

Although Julia finds that owning a business is risky and that taxes are high, there are many aspects of owning a business that she loves. She likes working with people, likes having the opportunity to innovate and be creative, and is confident about the good quality of her product.

You can visit Julia Serna and enjoy a coffee at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market, 35 York Blvd.
The market hours are:
Tuesdays 7am – 6pm; Thursdays
7am – 6pm; Fridays 8am – 6pm; and
Saturdays 6am – 6pm.

By Sarah Wayland | Photo by Michelle Drew

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