Take Care of Each Other Spotlight – Dahlia Ishak, Co-founder of Salty Espresso



As a part of our Take Care of Each Other initiative, we’re sharing the stories of our local restaurants involved in preparing fresh produce and meals for delivery to our Neighbour-to-Neighbour food bank and frontline workers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton.  

Dahlia Ishak and her partner, Ray Turner, are not only the founders of Salty Espresso but just so happen to be our neighbours, in Corktown, Hamilton. Their coffee shop is steps away from our office and daily go-to foour team. W miss their fresh food, baked goods, delicious coffee, and above all, the friendly faces and conversations had. 

It’s neighbours like this that make Hamilton an exceptional place to work. During this globally challenging time, coming together to support each other helps strengthen the bonds we share with this innovative community we are so proud to be a part of and city we are lucky to call home. 


Q: What brought you (and Salty’s) to Hamilton and to the Corktown area? 

AWe chose Hamilton because we instinctively felt that it was built on a community spirit. It was brimming with creativity and camaraderie and we felt like it seemed like the perfect place to open our shop and build a new home-base. We moved to Hamilton directly from Brisbane, Australia.

Q: Since COVID-19, how has your business pivoted to adapt to our current environment? 

AIn the first few days of COVID-19 we were ordering produce from our suppliers for our staff, friends, and our own home. When it became clear the closures would continue, we felt we should extend this support to the neighbourhood and general public. We quickly set up our online grocery store, and it’s been a great step during this time.

Getting to the grocery stores has become increasingly difficult for many families, elderly customers, single parents, or anyone without a vehicle. We wanted to continue to provide service and support to the community and continue supporting our amazing suppliers with orders. We are looking for more ways to use this store as a vehicle to support other businesses by partnering with other providers and expanding our offerings. It is a difficult time, but also the perfect time to work together, try new things, and do more together.

 If you could choose one word to describe the Hamilton community, what would it be? 

A: Awesome. 

 Over the course of the next 5 weeks, you will be producing 500 bags of fresh fruits and veggies for our local community organizations through the Take Care of Each Other initiative. That’s no small feat. What does this accomplishment demand from your team and partners? 

 A: We are so lucky to have incredible staff, partners, and my amazing husband who make everything possible. We have been working every single day of closures to keep everything running smoothly, stay organized, and most importantly, be safe. We are constantly working, packing, or cleaning, but it’s been such a rewarding and energizing experience to be doing something that seems to be positive for people. My husband, Ray, loves logistics and has been able to manage the backend of all our orders. Our produce partners have been incredibly supportive, and we talk with them daily to stay ahead. It’s been a team effort and we’re lucky to be surrounded by great staff, customers, and suppliers. The Burnt Tongue has been truly amazing, helping us deliver these packs to the community organizations. It wouldn’t be possible without everyone’s help.

  It’s a challenging time for everyone globally, but we are seeing ingenuity from small businesses across the city. What has been your greatest takeaway from this time? 

 A: My greatest takeaway is how powerful coming together and helping each other, can be and how far of a reach this collective spirit can have. Being able to work together, work quickly, and work towards the future has been what keeps us going, and lets us remain creative and positive during this time. We like to treat everything day-by-day, solve each challenge at hand, and always look towards the future with both optimism and reality. We know how daunting things are at the moment, and we are blown away by the resiliency and camaraderie of the community. It’s truly special, and we feel so lucky to be part of this city, especially as it bands together.

In short? Work Together, Create New Things, Be Calm, Be Kind.