541 Eatery & Exchange is a welcoming cafe in a beautiful space! You’ll find wooden harvest tables, chalkboard menus, historic charm, yummy bakery treats and healthy, affordable comfort food.
541 is in a former Bank of Montreal space, but the currency in this cafe is buttons. You’ll see a “Button Bank” Jar containing all colors, sizes and shapes of recycled buttons, from coats, sweaters, shirts, pants. Nearby there is an “Use a Button” Jar.
Customers buy buttons from the Button Bank Jar for $1/each and put them in the Use a Button Jar. Anyone who is hungry with no money can withdraw up to 5 buttons a day, use them to purchase food from the chalkboard menu and sit down for a meal in this beautiful space.
About 1/4 of the monthly cafe sales is in buttons, averaging 8,500 buttons/month.
Buttons are a simple idea that makes giving very direct and neighborly, and accepting help easier and respected. In this cafe all customers are valued equally.
The Exchange Part!
After 4 years here, 541 Eatery and Exchange is a busy neighborhood community center! Neighbors come to the cafe, sit down together and exchange talk, ideas and friendship. Regular customers exchange some free time to volunteer behind the counter. 541 is 80% volunteer run.
541 after school Homework Club offers opportunities for local students. Community workshops, internships, and kids camps make life better. Many 541 customers tell touching personal stories of struggles and successes. The 541 Community Garden is a hit!
Partners for Success!
541 is a non-profit community project of Compass Point Bible Church. Rev. Sue Carr has worked in the Barton St neighborhood for years, and is the E.D. at 541.
Many in Hamilton, like Cars 4 Cures, have contributed time and money to 541. Democracy Coffee House and The Pale Blue Dot are 541 supporters, collecting button purchase donations at their shops. Detour Coffee Roasters did a “Beans for Buttons” fundraiser!
You can buy buttons online, too. Better yet, stop into 541 Barton St E yourself for coffee, all day breakfast or a healthy lunch!