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Read The Mustard Seed Story

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Our Story...

A hidden gem nestled in the foothills of Northeast TN, The Mustard Seed Cafe offers an eclectic menu of specialty coffees, teas, quiches, sandwiches, salads, soups, and yummy desserts. Some signature items include; The Reuben, The Kitchen Sink Salad, chicken salad, assorted quiches, and caramel cake.

The Mustard Seed Cafe began in Gate City, VA in the early 2000’s. It’s origination was not a restaurant establishment. It was known as Mustard Seed Antiques & Collectibles and was founded by Kathy Ervin. It was a dream of Kathy’s to open an antique store selling Early American and primitive antiques. She took a leap of faith and followed her heart (hence the name Mustard Seed). Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. She discovered a book in a box at the Mustard Seed called Streams in the Desert. The book helped Kathy through some tough days during her treatments. Stacy Ervin, Kathy’s son and friend of George and Michelle (new owners), shared, “In the world’s view, she was able to pay the bills with the business, but spiritually it moved mountains.” Kathy later sold the business to Robin Norris prior to her passing in December of 2004.
 

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Robin had been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, and the two had been introduced through a friend who shopped at the antique store. After a few years of owning the antique store , Robin purchased space next door and turned a portion of the establishment into a kitchen. The Mustard Seed Cafe quickly became a household name in this tiny corner of Southwest Virginia. Robin traveled extensively sampling different cafes; she created and served a menu that was unlike others at the time. After an exciting run, Robin ultimately relocated out of state to be with family.

Robin proposed passing the restaurant on to Debi Tabor (a friend) who along with Glen Tabor (her husband) purchased the cafe in 2010 and moved it to Kingsport, TN in 2011. Their investment turned into a successful business that they were blessed to operate for 12 years. Glen and Debi extended the menu and built a strong team to support their growing business. The Tabors met many great customers over the years and formed lifelong friendships. Glen and Debi were able to take The Mustard Seed and grow it into a place that is now proudly part of the heartbeat of downtown Kingsport.

George and Michelle Williams took their own “Leap of Faith” on September 18, 2023, when they purchased the business from The Tabors.  George works for Bristol TN Essential Services in the Engineering Dept. focused mainly on commercial projects. Michelle spent 27 years in Corporate America with 19 of those years at General Electric Co HQs in Fairfield, CT and 8 years at Eastman Chemical Co. HQs in Kingsport, TN. After leaving Eastman in May of 2022, Michelle spent the last year enjoying time with family and friends. The couple prayed about what might be next along life’s earthly journey seeking The Lord’s direction and praying for discernment. Both natives of Kingsport and high school sweethearts, the couple was inspired to take ownership of the restaurant based on their own love for hosting events and parties, as well as family connections to the restaurant industry. The late E.C. McGlothlin, Michelle’s dad, was a cook in the military, attended cooking schools, owned restaurants, and had several food trucks before food trucks were ever “ a thing.” The late Doris McGlothlin, Michelle’s mom, was always by his side helping cook, clean his messes :-), and hosting family gatherings and holiday festivities. As followers of Christ, the couple believes that there isn’t a better way to serve Him than by loving and serving others. When learning the cafe was available , they knew it was a slam dunk and eagerly pursued. Since taking ownership, the couple has launched a new website, added menu items, designed a new menu layout, and expanded catering services and private party rentals. George and Michelle credit the cafe’s success to The Tabors (former owners), their rock star team who keep everything running smoothly, and to their loyal customers!

The proud parents stay active with their two daughters, Devyn and Channing Williams. 

George, Michelle, Devyn, and Channing are charter members of The Remnant Church in Kingsport, TN.

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