A new custom wedding and special event cake company will open in Milford this month thanks to Project Pop-Up.

A new custom wedding and special event cake company will open in Milford this month thanks to Project Pop-Up.

The Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) program pairs property owners with entrepreneurs to provide fledgling businesses with brick-and-mortar space rent free for the first three months.

This is the third year for the program and new Project Pop-Up business will begin their rent-free stay Wednesday, including Patty Cakes at 22 S. Walnut St. in downtown Milford.

Although her lease begins on today, Patty Cakes is still under construction and won’t be open for business for another two weeks, according to owner Latricia Vicks.

Patty Cakes currently has a showroom on Lockerman Street in downtown Dover. But after moving to Milford, it will have a showroom, full kitchen and a consultation area.

Vicks said that she’s been wanting to move to a permanent location and Project Pop-Up offered a “perfect storm” to allow her to find the space she needed.

“I was sold on day one,” Vicks said of the space.

The storefront needed minor repairs, but Vicks said she plans to add a dividing wall that will create a primary show room towards the front and full kitchen in the back.

“I’m hoping that we will be a complement to the businesses that are here and that we can come in and give back to the community,” she said. “And hopefully people will be really receptive to what we have to offer.”

Diane Laird, DEDO’s state coordinator of Downtown Delaware, said the goal of Project Pop-Up is to create friendly and sustainable downtowns that provide necessary goods and services.

“Patty Cakes offers custom cakes and, in an area that already has a lot of arts, culinary arts is a great addition to the arts already being offered [in downtown Milford],” she said.

“And I had some of her cake just last week and it was delectable.”

Patty Cakes is not the first business in Milford to get a kick-start through Project Pop-Up.

Milford Massage, Wellness and Yoga opened in 2013 and owner Paige Deiner credits much of her success to the program.

“It gives you the support and knowledge that you need,” Diener said. “We outgrew our building and had to buy our own building. And I don’t think much of that would have been possible without Project Pop-Up.”

Many other businesses throughout the state have found success through the program.

According to Laird, six out the eight total businesses that participated in the first two years of the program are still in operation. And of those six, all of them are in their original location — with the exception of Milford Massage, Wellness and Yoga.

In addition to physical preparation, Vicks also underwent an E-Commerce training—one of the various support programs DEDO offers to Project Pop-Up business owners.

She said helped her learn how she can “take the business to the next level through” social media and online platforms.

Currently, Vicks is the only full-time employee at Patty Cakes, but she hopes to add a front-counter employee soon. She also hopes to offer cake decorating classes in the future.

Beyond the first three months, Vicks said she intends to remain a long-term resident in the Milford store front.

“I love the fact that Milford is very progressive,” she said. “They have a lot of other small businesses that have been here for a while, and it is really promising to see that. I’m hoping to have that same longevity.”

And she hopes to keep the business running for years to come, especially as a mother of 10 children, who range in age between 6 and 22.

“They really are the inspiration behind all of this,” she said. “I just hope it’s something I can build that maybe they can continue.”