New store is a bit on the spicy side

Staff writer

A new commercial kitchen at 301 N. Cedar in Hillsboro is an outgrowth of a favorite family recipe that now has devotees nationwide.

Lydia Hein always made mustard in her kitchen in Hillsboro. In 1990, she turned her family recipe into a business, with the help of her son, Eugene Hein, and his wife, Rita.

The first year Lydia made mustard to sell at the Hillsboro Arts and Crafts fair. She sold nearly $100 worth and has been making mustard ever since then.

“Granny’s Homemade Mustard” can be found all across the country and in nearly 50 stores across Kansas.

While Lydia is unable to make mustard anymore after suffering a fall several years ago, Eugene and Rita have decided their home kitchen is too small to keep up demand and have purchased a store and remodeled it into a gourmet kitchen.

“We mostly redid the kitchen to bring it up to health department standards,” Eugene said.

The renovation included building a 40-foot wall, adding a dropped ceiling, making sure all walls were washable, and adding new electric and plumbing.

Since they were building a kitchen from scratch, Eugene was able to make it as large as he wanted; it wasn’t cramped like his home kitchen.

“The building has made things much better because we have a better facility,” Eugene said. “One thing I’m glad we did was put in better lighting. I felt that was important as we were redoing the electrical.”

The building has garage doors on both sides so Eugene can drive his truck into the store to drop off supplies or load up in inclement weather.

Eugene, Rita, and two part-time employees make eight flavors of mustard, ranging from Lydia’s original recipe, sweet and tangy, to ones Eugene created like his favorite, horseradish.

“This is not your standard mustard,” Eugene said. “This is a gourmet product. The recipe was my mother’s, and I grew up on it.”

It was Eugene’s love for the recipe that sparked him to suggest to Lydia that they begin making mustard and selling it at craft fairs.

“I don’t remember saying that to her, but she said I did, so I guess I’ll take the credit,” Eugene said.

They produce nearly 50 pounds of mustard in an evening at the new store.

“Usually we make mustard one evening a week, more if we have orders that require it,” he said. “We’re just a small business making a small income.”

A ribbon cutting and open house for the new location at 301 N. Cedar St. will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 1. A sausage and mustard sandwich will be served.

 

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