It is 3:00 a.m. and the workday for the owners of Dolce Coffee & Bakery, George Caroll and Chuck Stanko is just beginning. The oven is warming up and their customer’s favorite baked goods are being prepared. By 7:00 a.m. the Dolce awning is up and the open flag is flying. Within moments, a steady stream of “regulars” begin coming in for their favorite coffee, newspaper, and pastry to start the morning off just right. Although, for customers, Dolce isn’t just about coffee it is about having an experience.
The experience involves being immersed into a world where for a few moments you are in a warm, comfortable surrounding and a place where “where everybody knows your name.” Before a customer is even half way through the front door, they are welcomed into Dolce with a genuine smile from owners Chuck and George or one of their staff members Nick and Jocelyn. If you are a new customer, you then have the challenge of choosing which drink and pastry you’d like to try. If you are a “regular”, chances are that the staff or owners already know your favorite items and can begin making your drink before you are even up to the counter.
Chuck and George opened Dolce in January of 2005. “We drove up and down the East Coast looking for a small town with a homey feel that needed a small coffee and bakery shop,” Chuck stated, “Milford just stood out to us.” Soon, Dolce became a leader among downtown businesses by offering a WiFi spot for customers, creating a website, keeping resources local, developing innovative retailing, and giving back to the Milford community.
Over the years, Chuck and George have created scholarships for local arts organizations, contributed to the local community theater, donates all leftover baked goods on week nights to the Milford Senior Center, and even holds fundraising events for local residents in need.
To assist in promoting their fellow downtown merchants and downtown organizations, Dolce created a display sign featuring merchant information that is utilized during the Farmers’ Market and also features a downtown business directory and events section in their monthly e-mail newsletter.
Chuck and George’s passion for keeping resources local is shown through using a local florist and local artist prints for decorating their counters along with using a Delaware based coffee vendor. Dolce’s coffee is roasted fresh every week by Delaware City Coffee Company and shipped overnight for their customer’s enjoyment. Of course, the only thing that can truly compliment a freshly roasted cup of coffee is George’s baking.
“George loves experimenting. Baking is truly an art form for him,” Chuck stated, “He has a passion and creativity that is shown everyday. Dolce’s Gooey Chocolate cookie recently won second place at Rehoboth’s Chocolate Festival. But, the most popular pastry would have to be the Philadelphia Butter Cake or the breakfast cookie.”
If it isn’t the freshly roasted coffee, large amount of latte flavor concoctions, or the delicious pastries that bring customer’s into Dolce every morning then, it has to be the wonderful customer service that is provided. Chuck stated, “We are so lucky to have Nick and Jocelyn working with us.” Between the early morning city council gatherings outside or the family and friends who come once a week to spend an hour of drinking coffee and playing cards, there is never a dull moment in this home town coffee and bakery shop. Dolce’s awning, outdoor customer seating, and colorful flag showing they are open for business has become a welcoming sight to their patrons driving down Walnut Street. Especially, those who travel all the way from D.C. or across the state once a week just for the Dolce experience.
So what’s the scoop on Dolce? Chuck says they are preparing for the Fall season. Look out for George’s famous pumpkin rolls and the addition of pumpkin spice to their drink line up. Also, don’t forget if you have a favorite speciality from the bakery, Dolce is able to accommodate special orders. Just give them a call!
Dolce is located at 35 North Walnut Street in downtown Milford. For more information you can visit http://www.dolcebakery.com or call (302) 422-5760.
“Meet a Downtown Business Owner” will be a monthly newsletter feature, highlighting a different downtown business every month. Stay tuned...