New owners cultivate home at the old mill on Sugartree Street in Wilmington


New owners have made many changes

By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



New co-owner Diane Dell has a floral design booth at the Sugartree Mill Co. in Wilmington.

New co-owner Diane Dell has a floral design booth at the Sugartree Mill Co. in Wilmington.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

A clay bust of J. Donald Phillips, who was Hillsdale College (Michigan) president for 20 years, is in the left foreground. Isaac Dell of Clinton County, right foreground, was commissioned to make a bust of Phillips. Dell, a sculptor, is manager of the Sugartree Mill Co. in Wilmington, where he has a work studio at the home goods business.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Inside the Sugartree Mill Co. are, from left, Manager Isaac Dell, and his parents and Sugartree Mill co-owners Diane and Randy Dell.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — From his Champion Bridge workplace, Randy Dell had an up-close, daily vantage point of the re-purposed building just down Sugartree Street that formerly was a three-story grain mill.

He liked the building and business model. So when the business came up for sale earlier this year and knowing it would be a nice place for his sculptor son Isaac to set up a studio, it just made sense for the Champion Bridge owner to acquire it.

Randy and Diane Dell became the new owners of Shoppes at the Old Mill this summer. Changes have been made to the building’s interior and the business bears the new name Sugartree Mill Co. A grand opening is set for Saturday, Nov. 16.

The business is a good fit for the Dell Family, said Diane. All six of their children — four of whom majored in art — are helping out in some way, with Isaac as the manager.

The overarching tagline for Sugartree Mill Co., said Isaac, is “Cultivating home”.

The business will bridge the gap between retailers that simply offer home goods, antiques and gifts, with a place that has interior design space to show the consumer how those products can fit within their homes, according to the Dells.

Cultivating a well-rounded and meaningful home is a key goal, said Isaac.

And hospitality is something that goes into cultivating home, he said.

To that end, there will be workshops offered at the Sugartree Mill Co. — workshops that aim to foster hospitality as one of the centerpiece furnishings of a home. For example, Diane will host a workshop teaching attendees how to make a floral arrangement.

She started out at florist shops and has done wedding flowers out of her home for about 30 years.

A nicely done flower arrangement can express a sense of hospitality.

Randy noted a theme of Sugartree Mill, that of design, whether it be floral design, or the Mill itself as interior design space, or the objects themselves created by artisans.

“It’s very much design-oriented, craftsmanship-oriented. We have contacted artisan folks who do certain things; we’ve got candles from Tennessee that are bee’s wax candles, they’re artisan made,” Randy said.

Some walls between the old mill’s big beams have been taken down to open it up to its original big rectangular area. This opens up the interior so there are more ways to show how home goods can be used and displayed in your own home, said Randy.

Sugartree Mill Co. is on East Sugartree Street and remains a place to get gift items, antiques, collectibles, and assorted home goods. About 27 antique vendors have booths there.

Diane has a floral design booth, where there are silk flower arrangements. A daughter will do social media for the Mill, another daughter does buying, a third with Down syndrome works at the Mill, and son Noah who works at Champion Bridge does the accounting.

It’s a big family affair, remarked Isaac. Which fits right in with a venture meant to cultivate home.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

New co-owner Diane Dell has a floral design booth at the Sugartree Mill Co. in Wilmington.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/10/web1_wreathes-1.jpgNew co-owner Diane Dell has a floral design booth at the Sugartree Mill Co. in Wilmington. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

A clay bust of J. Donald Phillips, who was Hillsdale College (Michigan) president for 20 years, is in the left foreground. Isaac Dell of Clinton County, right foreground, was commissioned to make a bust of Phillips. Dell, a sculptor, is manager of the Sugartree Mill Co. in Wilmington, where he has a work studio at the home goods business.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/10/web1_sculpture-1.jpgA clay bust of J. Donald Phillips, who was Hillsdale College (Michigan) president for 20 years, is in the left foreground. Isaac Dell of Clinton County, right foreground, was commissioned to make a bust of Phillips. Dell, a sculptor, is manager of the Sugartree Mill Co. in Wilmington, where he has a work studio at the home goods business. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Inside the Sugartree Mill Co. are, from left, Manager Isaac Dell, and his parents and Sugartree Mill co-owners Diane and Randy Dell.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/10/web1_family-1.jpgInside the Sugartree Mill Co. are, from left, Manager Isaac Dell, and his parents and Sugartree Mill co-owners Diane and Randy Dell. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
New owners have made many changes

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com