Mill Street Sweets on Main: Where sweet dreams become reality
As one strolls down Main Street in Farmville on any given Saturday morning, they should take steps to prepare themself before walking past Mill Street Sweets on Main. The scent of buttery, sugary baked goods and a sign out front advertising fresh glazed donuts is enough to drive one mad.
Stepping into the small bakery, visitors are greeted by display cases featuring delectable desserts of every shape and size. From cakes and pastries to cookies and coffee, the store has got it all.
One might be fooled by the shop’s quaint size into thinking Mill Street Sweets is a tiny operation. While all of the business’ desserts are made in-house, the bakery’s signature cakes are actually shipped out and served at dozens of restaurants throughout the commonwealth.
Tommy Graziano co-owns Mill Street Sweets on Main as well as Charley’s Waterfront Cafe and Wine Bar and The Virginia Tasting Cellar with his business partners, John Magin and Andrew Pollster.
The bakery’s origin story began, as one might assume, over on Mill Street, the location of the trio’s two other aforementioned businesses.
Graziano opened Charley’s 28 years ago, buti it was around 13 years ago the successful restaurant hired a baker and began producing a variety of desserts to be featured in-house. Thus, Mill Street Sweets was born.
The sweet treats became a hit both locally at Charley’s and around the state. As the years went by, the business began picking up cake orders for restaurants in Richmond, Lynchburg and Charlottesville who wanted to sell these Farmville favorites. But expanding operations would require a much larger space.
“We didn’t have room,” Graziano noted during a Tuesday, Aug. 10, interview.
It was five years ago that business owners began renting a building at 218 N. Main St. While the storefront appears small, the back of the business, where the magic happens, features all the equipment needed to run a bustling bakery sending orders out all over Virginia, including a cake oven the size of a bedroom.
Mill Street Sweets on Main, as the name now suggests, has called Main Street home for half a decade now. Every sweet tooth around is no match for the siren’s call of the local bakery, and it’s not hard to see why.
A trip into the shop means staring down glass display cases filled with nearly any gooey, flakey or fudgy treat one could possibly yearn for. In addition to the bakery’s famous carrot cake, chocolate cake and flavored cheesecakes, Mill Street Sweets on Main also offers items such as cupcakes, cookies, brownies, croissants, homemade parfaits, whoopie pies and much more. The bakery also offers a variety of gluten-free items, and seasonal sweets are available at different times throughout the year.
But according to Graziano, the business’ most popular items, without a doubt, are the doughnuts.
Gloriously glazed, undeniably humongous and offered in a multitude of flavors, hundreds of these treats are fried up and sold every Saturday, and it doesn’t take long before they’re gone.
“We run out of doughnuts every Saturday,” Graziano noted.
Like most businesses in the area, Mill Street Sweets did not go unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. Before COVID hit the area, the bakery had around nine employees as well as 34 different restaurants across Virginia it was selling and delivering desserts to.
At the height of the global health crisis, the business shut down for approximately five months, and several employees were lost. After opening, new workers had to be hired and trained.
The bakery is now back in full swing and operating Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to the goods offered in the front of the store, the business also fills custom orders for birthday parties, weddings and other celebrations. And while the bakery still makes desserts for Charley’s, they continue to sell and ship hundreds of treats each week to restaurants throughout Virginia. The business also partners with Louisa County-based distributor Cavalier Produce which sells Mill Street Sweets baked goods to restaurants as nearby as Farmville and as far away as Virginia Beach.
Whether it’s because of the smiling faces of bakers Amanda Winfree and Tessa Ayers or the doughnuts the size of a person’s head, customers keep coming back to this Farmville-founded sweet shop whose desserts are enjoyed all over Virginia.