Petite Sweets to close up shop in downtown Milford

Albert Sierra and Keila Montalvo-Sierra will close their Petite Sweets location in Milford this month. They have already closed their Dover location. (Special to the Delaware State News)

MILFORD — As 2019 rolls in, another business in Milford will close its doors — at least for a while.

Petite Sweets, owned by Albert Sierra and Keila Montalvo-Sierra, opened in December 2015 as a Project Pop-Up business on Walnut Street in downtown Milford.

Through Project Pop-Up, a joint venture by the Delaware Economic Development Office and Downtown Delaware, three months of rent-free commercial space was made available to the cake pop business.

They opened a satellite location in downtown Dover in October 2016 which they closed last month.

Just over three years later, the owners have decided to celebrate their success as a business and family while “putting a break on this party,” according to Mr. Sierra.

“It was a wild ride. [Closing] is something we were thinking about for a while and were kind of holding out,” he said.

But two major reasons have now made closing a priority for the couple.

“Traffic had severely decreased in the downtown area 60-61 percent. There’s nobody walking in. We watch Josephine Keir across the street, too, and she doesn’t have anybody walking in. There’s not enough foot traffic in this area, as bad as that sounds,” Mr. Sierra explained.

“All of the things we do is high quality with the amount of work and hours we put in to have minimal traffic, it’s just not enough. I don’t know how the other stores are doing, but I know for us, there’s a decrease in traffic.”

Their Dover location offered the company more foot traffic, but that concern wasn’t the only deciding factor as they move toward closing this chapter.

Growing a family also took precedence.

“The second issue is that we have four kids now and the amount of energy required is significant. It’s best for our family is to take a break and focus on our family and kids and be with them as they grow,” he added.

Although Petite Sweets has not announced a closing date as of yet, Mr. Sierra said they will go out in style this month with a party to celebrate.

The Sierra family will stay in Milford, enjoying the community with a fresh perspective.

“And when the timing is better, we’ll relaunch Petite Sweets and do it better,” Mr. Sierra said.

News of their closure comes just days after Abbott’s Grill also announced that their Milford location will close due to a lack of business.

“We’re saddened to hear that Petite Sweets is also closing. We’ve reached out to other businesses and Joe Wiley [landlord] to find somebody for that space. There’s really not much space on Walnut Street, so we don’t expect that that space will be empty for very long,” Murrie Zlotziver, executive director of Downtown Milford, Inc., said.

“Our economic vitality community has been taking an aggressive approach in looking at new businesses that we want to see downtown. That’s really important – not just any businesses, but quality businesses.”

Mr. Sierra says the community can help the efforts of DMI and other local leaders in growing a vibrant downtown experience.

“If there’s one thing I can communicate with people, it’s that I wish people in Milford would come out more to support Milford businesses. Most of our walk-ins were people from outside of Milford – Lewes, Fenwick, etc. They came far, and only a few were from Milford. Most of our clientele have been people from outside of Milford,” he said.

“Honestly, we love being in Milford. We’re not leaving. We’re still going to be an active part of the community and we’re going to find the right timing and right location to reopen. There’s a lot of potential in Milford. Come out and support your local businesses. Not just us, but there’s so many businesses here that are very unique to Milford. If local people can really take a hold of that and be more proactive, we could thrive and be amazing.”

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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