Mark Dissinger is no stranger to Dolce. As a volunteer for Second Street Players for many years, he often joined the cast and crew on Saturday when they were working on sets at the coffee shop or grabbed treats for the crew. His daughter, Libby, worked at Dolce through the end of high school and most of college.
“We would joke when she came home and talked about her shift that if we owned Dolce, we could do this or we could do that,” Dissinger said. “Dean cuts my grass, and I wrote on the bottom of an invoice once time jokingly “When you want to sell Dolce, call me.” Then, late last summer, I think in July, he called me and said “Hey, I’m calling about your invoice.” I immediately asked if I shorted his pay or if something was wrong. He laughed and said “No, your note.” He explained that he and Stephanie, as Dylan was starting to get older, wanted to make more memories and spend more family time together, so we just started talking. Then, I was presented with an early retirement option at U.S. Cold Storage, not because I am old enough to retire, but I had the years of service. So, I said okay and knew what my Chapter Two was going to be.”
The only thing that will change slightly in Dolce is the décor. Dissinger plans to do some minor remodeling, including new paint, new tables and chairs, possibly new cases, just some freshening up.
“It’ still the Chuck and George look,” Dissinger said. “Nothing major, though. I do want to do some remodeling to the building, like new windows and doors, primarily on the second floor and in the back, mostly things people don’t see. But as far as the product within the shop, no, none of the recipes are changing. None of the drinks are changing. We’re going to add things actually. I mean, those recipes have been the same. They are Chuck and George’s recipes, so they’ve been around a long time. A couple of them are fairly new that maybe Dean and Stephanie introduced, but pretty much it will be the same. People in Milford are creatures of habit. They like what they like and by golly, don’t change things, whatever you do.”
Many people have asked Dissinger if he plans to change things and he tells them if anything, he may add some savory items and elevate current items. The second location planned for 10th Street will lean more toward savory than the downtown location, but that project is on hold temporarily with plans to be open there in June or early July.
“I was hoping I could get it done before the end of the school year so I could start getting school kids, but I didn’t think the way things are going we’ll be able to do that,” Dissinger said. “I am the sole owner. I do plan to bring in my son-in-law as general manager and Libby will float between working for Tracy at the practice and helping me out. I asked her if she wanted some 3 AM baking shifts and she said no.”
One of the biggest challenges Dissinger has already faced is letting the public know that Dolce is not closing.
“Milford is full of rumors,” Dissinger said. “I’ve heard everything from “Oh they’re going to put a real estate office in there” to “they’re just going to close it.” We had a guy from Dover yesterday and he said he had to come in before we closed. The girl told him we were not closing and he said “I read the Facebook post and it says the owners are closing.” She told him to read it again because the post simply said there was a new owner. I just want to let the public know we’re not going anywhere.”
Dissinger praised the Tatman’s for the work they have done in the almost ten years they have owned the coffee shop, but commented that, in any business, there was room for improvement.
“We want to remain the destination in downtown and with the growth that downtown is experiencing again right now with fondue opening, I guess the King’s have Milly’s old building. and they’ve got some good plans for in there,” Dissinger said. “I’ve talked to Zack a lot and he’s like, “I’m so glad you’re doing this”. So, I am excited to see what downtown can be because I’ve seen it. I volunteered with DMI for almost 12 years, and I saw the ups and downs. Downtown is really great, and people enjoy coming downtown. We’re only going to build on that and continue to give them a good experience. We hope to have some extended hours eventually, but whether that will be in the morning or the afternoon, we’re on the fence about that. But we have a lot of things that we want to do. We know we at least have to at least try some bigger ideas. And you try them for 60 or 90 days, if they work great if they don’t work. Okay, we tried it.”
When it comes to extended hours, Dissinger said he wanted to be mindful of his staff and their needs.
“The staff is great,” Dissinger said. “They are experienced, they are knowledgeable and we can even build on their skills to help us grow even more.”
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