Dolce opens 10th Street location

Terry RogersBusiness, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

Chris Tenbusch stands with his staff at the Dolce’s new second location in the 10th Street Medical Building

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, then-owners of Dolce, Dean and Stephanie Tatman announced they would open a second location in the 10th Street Medical Complex. When the pandemic began, the project was placed on hold.

“When the Silicato’s wanted to build this, I guess from what I understand, Dr. Hammer and Dr. Barnes were going to be the first tenants. And they went to the Silicato’s and said you need to get Dolce as a coffee shop in there,” Dissinger said. “I believe that was how it began, I never really covered that with Dean and Stephanie. But then COVID. So, they backed off. And then you don’t want to open when the building is pretty well empty, but now that the building’s full, it was time. And then Dean, Stephanie and myself started talking. They were like, “why don’t we just wait and let you take it on. Here’s the equipment that we ordered, and you can do the rest.” So, that’s how it all started when Silicato had the vision to get this built.”

The 10th Street location is significantly smaller than the downtown location at between 100 and 125 square feet compared to 1,000, but Dissinger explained that the menu will basically be the same. Currently, there are not cold items at the 10th Street location as they don’t have the refrigeration space, but they are looking for ways to add those once they get the flow of the new space figured out. He also explained that the goal was always to have a limited menu at the second location with a larger menu at the downtown location.

“We do plan to do breakfast and lunch here, but right now it’s all sweets. We’re gonna we’re bring savory,” Dissinger said. “I just met with some people last week about some new items that I want to start after we do our remodeling downtown. So sometime end of July, beginning of August, probably start doing some more savory things.”

The downtown location is also getting an upgrade, Dissinger stated. Fresh coats of paint, new countertops and new cases are some of the changes that will be incorporated into the Walnut Street location.

“We’re taking down some of George’s handiwork and the little trashcan piece, we’re taking that out which will open the space,” Dissinger said. “Those pieces are nice. But they’re in the way. It’s time to freshen it up. Bring it into today’s world.  I just got a picture yesterday from my contractor who has prebuilt the counter and then he’s gonna bring it in. We’re gonna close Saturday, July 1 at the end of the day and be closed the entire week of July 4, reopening July 10.”

Dissinger expressed excitement about the new location as well as the changes occurring at the Walnut Street restaurant. He stated that the 10th Street location opened to little fanfare last week with just a small post on Facebook. He also explained that he set a goal that he wanted to see reached each day and, so far, they had been reaching those goals.

“I’ve asked Chris to sort of watch the parking lot to see who comes in here and purchases because they’re here at the building for some reason, or how many people pull in, come and get something and then leave because they specifically chose to come in here. There’s been a couple of people that have done that which is good”,” Dissinger said., referring to his General Manager, Chris Tenbusch, who is also his son-in-law.

In an effort to draw customers from Route 1, Dissinger hopes to place signage along the highway, not only to bring tourists heading to and from the beaches into the 10th Street location, but also locals who are heading to work on the highway. He is also hoping to partner with his neighbor, Microtel, and offer 10 percent coupons to guests who may be staying there for events at DE Turf. Dissinger is also looking forward to the school year where he hopes teachers and students will become regular customers.

“With a few months under our belts, one thing I can say that has not been a challenge is help. Help us not a big challenge for us. Our staff is great. We’ve added two which have worked out really good. But I would say one of our biggest challenges is trying to figure out what people really want because I think sometimes people don’t really know what they want,” Dissinger said. “That means we have to figure it out for them. But we’ve added some new items which is great. So, we’re getting different people looking for different things. We’re kind of tapping into that. But just cost of goods is a challenge. I mean, I’ll be honest with you, Chris and I have had many conversations about prices, and we’re gonna have to raise some prices. It just it is what it is. It’s gonna look bad right after a remodel, raising the price, but we have be appropriate.”

Overall, Dissinger’s new venture has had very few challenges. All items are baked at the Walnut Street location and transported to the 10th Street store daily. Dissinger explained that Tenbusch picks up large, sealed containers every morning and brings them to 10th Street.

“It’s been really good seeing people come in that have always come in who tell us “don’t change.” And it’s good seeing people that the staff would say, “Geez, I haven’t seen them for a while”. And now they’re coming back. Regularly, which is good.  And new people are coming in,” Dissinger said. “I’m always asking people how’s your drink? How’s the cinnamon roll? How are we doing? Okay, do you like it? And for the most part, it’s all very positive. Sometimes you get somebody like “the cinnamon roll is a little crunchy today.” And that is okay. We are human and we are not all perfect. We bake everything fresh. So, it’s not like we’re pulling out of the freezer and throwing it in a microwave. It is all fresh. I will say that’s sometimes a struggle. People sometimes don’t understand it. You can go to Walmart and buy cupcakes at four in the morning if you want. But if we sell out of our inventory at 1 in the afternoon, we’re sold out. I don’t want to throw it in the oven at 1:30 and end up throwing it away at 3:30.”

Feedback has been very positive, Dissinger stated. He explained they are on their second round of loyalty cards which means people are picking them up and using them. Currently, the 10th Street location will have the same hours as the downtown location which are Monday through Wednesday 7 AM until 3 PM; Thursday, 6 AM to 5:30 PM; Friday 7 AM to 3 PM and Saturday 8 AM until Noon. They are closed on Sunday.




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