By Terry Rogers
On January 14, Sugar Bee in downtown Milford announced that it would be closing its doors on February 26, 2017. The store opened three years ago offering fine candy, raw honey and gourmet chocolates under partners Peggy Reilly and Sherry Shupe.
“Both of the Queen Bees are taking a different path,” Ms. Reilly said. “One Queen Bee’s hive was expanded wit the birth of a new little bee and the other Queen Bee will be free to travel, golf and get more involved in the revitalization of Downtown Milford. It is my hope that we find a buyer for the store rather than close completely.” Ms. Reilly said that she hopes to become more active with Downtown Milford Inc., something that she has been focused on for the past year.
Reilly helped to start several groups designed to promote downtown, including a monthly entrepreneur’s group that works to bring ideas to Downtown Milford Inc. (DMI) from the retailer perspective. Ms. Reilly said that she had spent her entire career in customer service but owning a retail business opened her eyes to some of the difficulties retailers face. She hopes to work with DMI to help them understand what is needed to grow the downtown through the eyes of a business merchant.
“I think that now that I am no longer a business owner downtown but have three years’ experience under my belt as a merchant, I can add a unique perspective to how DMI could move forward and provide better assistance to the stores downtown,” Ms. Reilly said. “DMI does a good job, but there is always room for improvement in any organization. I think I can help them gain a better perspective of the retailer side.”
She plans to travel with her husband, something she has been unable to do because she was required to be at the store. She hoped to spend time with family in Atlanta over the holidays but could not due to her duties at the store. Ms. Shupe, who gave birth to her first daughter in August, also owns another growing business in Milford, Fur-Baby Boutique and Doggie Daycare.
“I retired three years ago and the plan was that I would give the store three years,” Ms. Reilly said. “We had hoped that Sherry could take over, but Fur-Baby has grown so much and now that she has the baby, it is tough for her to be spread across two businesses. The store is for sale and we have been selling some of the fixtures. We really do hope that someone purchases the business so that it remains open.”
Ms. Reilly and Ms. Shupe say that it has been a pleasure to bring gourmet candies, local honey and smiles to families in lower Delaware. They say that the experiences they have shared has “filled their hearts and created wonderful memories.” Both believe that it has been a “blessing to live and work in a community that is supportive of local businesses.”
“I will miss the people,” Ms. Reilly said. “I will miss the interaction with people who came in and enjoyed our products. Sherry and I look forward to seeing downtown Milford continue to bloom and are excited to see new businesses arrive and current businesses expand. We thank everyone who has supported our hive over the past three years and hope that someone comes forward who wants to keep the hive alive.”
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