At Sprout Raw Juice, you won’t find any sugar or dairy, but you’ll find naturally sweet treats that are a dream come true for owner Michele Leite.
“We opened this spot here in our town because we felt we would like to bring to our community some of the things we were passionate about: improving health and community as well,” said Leite.
The Milford nutritionist spent a year working on recipes with her husband to fit a niche.
“And one thing we heard from the minute we opened our doors is ‘this is what Milford has been waiting for: healthy options.’ And we’re really happy to support other local businesses,” Leite said.
They’re part of the growing business community in Milford. The Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce reports that 469 new businesses have opened in 2022 with 78 joining the Chamber. It’s a rate on par with the pre-pandemic numbers.
“We’re back on that pace maybe a little faster now,” said Simon McDonald, director of membership and marketing for the Chamber of Commerce. “I think there’s a lot more ability for people to take a risk for themselves, rather than staying in a job they think they should be in because it’s comfortable.”
He adds that people who may work for financial or insurance companies are going out on their own. And restaurants are finding success as society adjusts to the pandemic.
The owners of Don Rene Taqueria were among those who took a chance last year. Manager Carmen Yunga said there was a lot of fear and nervousness.
“It was just time to do it, and we did it with a lot of faith,” Yunga said.
She said their location near the Green gives them the benefit of foot traffic through the doors.
McDonald says the city’s open doors are drawing a lot of new businesses to the area, plus an appealing mill rate in the 20s and a good school system.
“I think it’s quality of life that has something to do with it. The lower end of taxes helps a lot,” McDonald said. “Just a city that’s open to businesses and not trying to put roadblocks in front of them.”
Leite says there’s also a sense of support, not just from the city, but also other owners.
“A lot of these small businesses are very open to collaborations and we’re happy to participate in any of that.”