Build it and they will come­

Milford. The Village Market at Apple Valley opens for business during Memorial Day weekend.

| 31 May 2023 | 06:18

“Build it and they will come,” said Steven Rosado, Director of Development for the Milford Hospitality Group (MHG), referring to the grand opening of the latest MHG property during Memorial Day weekend.

The expression (with apologies to Kevin Costner’s Ray Kinsella character in the movie “Field of Dreams”) characterizes many of MHG’s Milford Ventures.

“If Bill Rosado [head of MHG] sees a need, has a dream of how it could be, how it could improve the town, and builds it, people really do come,” local resident John Riley said.

Although there is some controversy about whether the town is improved, Riley added that Rosado has created more than 170 jobs as well as more opportunities for local businesses - and people - to visit Milford. As an example, he cited the previously closed Milford Theater which now attracts a variety of top names in entertainment is sold out much of the time.

Trolley treks

The idea behind the Village Market was to expand people’s experience in Milford beyond the few blocks of Broad Street, provide more activities for weekend visitors, give a boost to brick-and-mortar shops, and encourage local vendors to display their wares.

The MHG Jolly Trolley is the vehicle that brings visitors back and forth from Broad Street to the Village - and judging from the smiling faces disembarking, it’s pretty Jolly.

Laurel-Ann Schrader, founder and CEO of Shrader Creations, was the one who came up with the idea.

Rosado was thinking the about a similar thing at the same time, so they decided to collaborate.

Schrader’s store is on site, and she is the one who takes applications from prospective vendors and makes sure there’s no conflict. She sells handcrafted wooden and glass objects for the home and also runs classes for adults and children in woodcrafts, painting, and jewelry making.

For both Schrader and Rosado, the market is more than about money. It is a place for people to come and enjoy strolling around the property, relaxing and having fun. There are nature activities for adults and children (including a Milford Tree House obstacle course activity for kids 2 to 10 this weekend). Rosado said he hopes to expand the nature activities even further on the sprawling 4.5-acre property.

Clearer and brighter

Ed Hauser, a master tobacconist who owns the Mr. and Ms. Cigar store, is happy with the new look. He has been in this location for 33 years and sells over 4,000 cigars.

“Before, there were many bushes obstructing the store. But now with the new landscaping, we are very visible and there is a definite increase in traffic,” he said.

His store has every cigar-related object imaginable - from cutters and humidors, to posters and even a members-only smoking room dedicated to Frank Sinatra.

Variety is the spice of life

There is an assortment of outdoor vendors, like those selling unique potholders for plates and bowls (at Bee Infinites and More); Nancy Werany’s silver rings and bracelets (at Have Jewelry, Will Travel); and revivals that brings old furniture to life again (at E and J Treasures).

Bibi Gaston, a landscape architect (who is also the great granddaughter of Amos Pinchot and great grandniece of Gifford Pinchot) displayed a number of books she has written about Gifford Pinchot, and his letters to his forest rangers in the latter part of his life. “Gifford Pinchot and the Old Timers, Vols. 1 and 2” are available on Amazon.

Vendors can sign up for a weekend, a day, or multiple days, which adds to the variety of vendors to choose from and provides easy scheduling for the sellers. Applications are available by calling Laurel-Ann Schrader at 858-349-0110 or logging onto

The Village Market will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Labor Day.