A few years ago a new bakery arrived in downtown Milan, adding a much-needed pop of color to this small town’s streets. Life is Sweet has since become an integral part of the downtown community as it has quickly built a loyal customer base with its homemade treats and friendly staff.
The bakery is run by owner Margaret Prince, her daughter Jessie, and her son-in-law Keith Billie. Before Life is Sweet, the trio was all working at Whole Foods. Prince had been working as a bakery team leader for a number of years and was responsible for creating and implementing many recipes and systems throughout her time with Whole Foods. Eventually, she decided to start selling her decorated cookies and brookies at local farmers markets. Life is Sweet’s “brookie” is a thick deep-dish cookie that comes in a variety of flavors.
Once the community got a taste of a brookie, it was time for Prince to act on her dream of opening a bakery.
“It was going so well that we needed a commercial kitchen to have a home for the brookies,” Keith Billie said.
Small Town Appeal
The owners of Life is Sweet took a chance on downtown Milan when they first set up shop. There were not many new businesses at the time, especially in the area where Life is Sweet is located. However, the activity downtown has multiplied in the last few years. New shops have opened in the empty storefronts and downtown events have grown to be weekly or monthly happenings.
Milan’s revitalized downtown scene is not the only reason Life is Sweet has benefitted from the community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, loyal customers kept the business alive and well.
Billie said the Life is Sweet team was determined to find a way to make it work through the pandemic. In order to continue serving their customers the best they could, they implemented online ordering and local deliveries once a week on Sundays.
“We felt like we flourished and it was because of the Milan community and supporting communities around us so we can’t thank them enough,” Billie said.
Life is Sweet’s Pantry
Life is Sweet is always evolving. In order to adapt to the previous indoor seating restrictions, they turned their seating area into The Pantry. Half of their building is now occupied with their own little store, supplied with art, baking utensils, jams, and more. They strived to keep the inventory as local as possible so many small businesses from around the area are represented in this space.
A bar for wine tasting was recently installed in The Pantry. Now, customers can come in and sample Michigan-made Modern Craft wine. The ambiance of the bar added a modern touch to the already skillfully decorated interior. When you walk in, you are greeted by Tiffany blue walls with white painted accents and furniture. Everything in the store comes together to fit into their aesthetic.
Savory and Sweet Treats Makes Life Sweet
When you walk in, you are greeted with a plethora of homemade treats. From what started off as brookies and decorated cookies, Life is Sweet has grown into a destination for soup, sandwiches, baked goods, pastries, and more.
Billie’s favorite sandwich is the Hawaiian. This combination of pineapple, sesame seeds, ham, and their homemade version of yum-yum sauce has been on the sandwich menu since the beginning.
They also alternate different flavors of sweet and savory rolls in their pastry case. Pretzel pepperoni rolls are one of the pastry case staples. In some of the sweet pastries, they use a homemade raspberry jam which brings out the best in every dough it’s paired with. These rolls can be enough for a light lunch or even a snack to share.
The strawberry puff pillow is a pastry filled with fresh fruit and a light and fluffy cream that has grown to be one of the most popular menu items. This can often be found in the cake case among other homemade sweets.
They keep the new ideas flowing and are always evolving their menu. You can stay up to date with the latest changes by following them on Facebook.
42 E Main St, Milan. 734-628-7185. lifeissweetbakerycafe.com.