It’s probably safe to say that when Milly Ferrer sat down at the dinner table as a child — eating delicious meals skillfully prepared from family recipes handed down from generation to generation — that she never expected to be using those same recipes and selling her own creations in her very own business, many years later. In the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce’s very first “Seven Questions With … ” feature, we interviewed Milly, owner of Spices & Teas by Milly, to chat about her business and the recent opening of her first brick and mortar location at the Southgate Plaza.
How long have you been in business, and how did you get started?
I grew up in New York City with my grandmother who owned a restaurant and had a passion for food. Almost 14 years ago, I decided to slowly experiment with spices and sell my creations. I began selling my spices at the Super Flea and slowly move to craft shows and farmers’ markets. I currently participate at the East Aurora Farmers Market and do many area craft shows.
What made you make the leap to open your own store?
For years, I had my production out of my house until I decided we needed more space. I then moved the production to a location on William Street. In December of 2018, the building where I housed my business was sold and I was told to move. In May 2019, I was able to accomplished one of my dreams of opening a brick and mortar location at the Southgate Plaza in West Seneca.
A lot of your products are said to be family recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Do you come from a long line of food enthusiasts?
Yes, my grandmother owned a restaurant in Brooklyn and my mom and sister are involved in a catering business. My daughter is a professional pastry chef. I have a passion for food as well. We are a family of foodies!
Among all of your products, which is your personal favorite?
I do have lots of favorites, especially the products that remind me of family events. For example, I have a blend called Porky Pig. It is a rub for meats; however, it can be used for many other recipes. Porky Pig reminds me of family events in which food brought us together for special occasions.
We hear you are also a full-time law enforcement officer … so how do you balance your day and still find the time to make such a variety of spices and teas?
I have been working in law enforcement for almost 17 years. My life is balanced by these two passions. I can decide on any given day which of the two jobs will give me the peace I need to complete my day.
How has your business changed with the recent opening of your store in the Southgate Plaza?
The recent opening of the store at the Southgate Plaza has welcomed a lot of new customers. It has also given me the opportunity to bring another passion of mine. I currently have a bake shop inside the store. We bake custom cutout cookies, cupcakes, French macarons and many other baked goods. The community has embraced the business and we are extremely happy and grateful.
Are there any new products coming out that we can look forward to?
There is always room for new products at Spices & Teas by Milly. In the next few weeks we are bringing a smoothie and cappuccino bar. Customers will be able to come in and buy products to do their smoothies and cappuccinos at home.
Another product in the near future is Artsy Sprinkles by Milly. There is a market for bakers using super fancy sprinkles. Customers will be able to come to the store and request a custom sprinkle mix for their baked goods.
If you are a West Seneca Chamber of Commerce member and would like to participate in the “Seven Questions With … ” business profile feature, please contact the Chamber at 674-4900.