By Terry Rogers
As small business owners, Dean and Stephenie Tatman, who purchased Dolce Coffeeshop and Bakery on North Walnut Street in Milford in January, understand the importance of supporting other local businesses. It is for this reason they try to use local vendors when they are purchasing ingredients for their fresh baked goods and other items they sell in their coffee shop.
“Supporting local businesses is so much more rewarding because it provides a sense of camaraderie,” Ms. Tatman said. “We love hearing the stories about the families behind local businesses, hoping that our small contribution is tangible to that family. To see our businesses succeed together give us so much joy and gratification.”
Dolce carries a blend of Amity Coffee Roasters coffee from Greenwood and purchase many of their bulk foods from Bylers in Harrington. In addition, their paper products are manufactured in Seaford by Lord Brothers and Higgins while their coffee syrups are purchased from Coastal Coffee Works in Selbyville. A few months ago, they added Vanderwendes Ice Cream, which is made in Bridgeville, and this week added New York-style bagels purchased from K&H Bagels in Rehoboth. They also plan to use fresh produce from local farmers in the near future.
“Investing in our local economy creates a ripple effect that impacts our community and surrounding areas,” Ms. Tatman said. “Small business life can be tough, we all need as much support as we can get. We want our customers to know that the products they’re eating are made with love, from scratch, by people who could be their neighbor, fellow parent on their little league team or a pew mate in church on Sunday. We have three bakers on staff who each bring something special to the bakery.”
Ms. Tatman said that although they love all local ice creams, including Frozen Farmer, Kings and Hopkins, they have known members of the Vanderwende family for many years. She said that the delicious ice cream they make was the “cherry on the top” as the Tatman’s already had tremendous love and respect for the family.
Many studies indicate that the Tatman’s are on the right track by purchasing locally. Buying local items not only supports the business but also supports the community. Studies also indicate that non-profit groups receive, on average, 250 percent more support from smaller business owners than they do large businesses.
When visitors and residents purchase a cupcake, pastry, bagel or ice cream cone from Dolce, they are not only helping the Tatman’s business grow but are also supporting other small businesses in Milford and surrounding communities. This helps grow the local economy while also keeping the community unique as more one-of-a-kind businesses can thrive.
“When people go on vacation, they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just any place,” Richard Moe, President of the National Historic Preservation Trust, said. In other words, unique businesses in small towns often draw visitors who want to experience the area.
The Tatmans’ hope to continue purchasing local ingredients for their store as they know helping other small businesses grow will also help their business grow.
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