City official: Dockside Brewery key to Milford’s Devon area transformation

MILFORD — Julie Nash envisioned Devon’s transformation when Dockside Brewery opened its doors in that area of Milford two years ago.

Nash, the city’s director of economic and community development, recalled how that move was considered the perfect ingredient to creating a growing business community in Devon. And that vision has become a reality.

“There is a lot more life down in the Devon area, a lot more traffic, a lot more people going to visit, and there has been an increase of people wanting to start a business there,” she said.

Dockside Brewery opened up in 2020, and for Nash, it is the business anchor for Devon.

“It brought what Devon needed,” she said. “Not to say there weren’t great places before them. Bridge House Restaurant has always been a great restaurant. You also have some great hair salons and service there.”

Recently Isabel’s Mexican Bakery opened in that neighborhood — a grand opening long-awaited by business owners Emiliano Dominguez and Toni Quintero.

“When we did open, people weren’t coming out as much because of COVID,” Dominguez said. “But we managed to get by, and now the clientele is coming in frequently.”

Then there are businesses like Legrify Inspired, which offer more of an experience than retail, which is the way more and more businesses are moving, said Nash.

“Not only can you buy a candle they have there, but you can make the candle,” she said. “Having businesses like that is a big deal because it brings in people for the experience.”

A new business coming soon into the Devon area is going to be a co-working space, said Nash.

“When that opens up, it’s going to bring even more life into the Devon area,” she said. “From people working down there and riding their bikes down there as well.

“I’m excited to see the future of Devon,” Nash added. “It’s definitely bright, and there’s a lot of cool stuff going on.”

Nash said Legrify Inspired business owners Julianna Shabarek and Joe Carrano have been instrumental in trying to organize a Devon Business Association to mirror the Downtown Milford Business Association.

“They have planned several events this year, and they were super successful,” Nash added. “Having many neighbors and residents coming down and walking and visiting the shops made it a great event.”

One of those events was the first Devon Stroll held in December 2021. A group of Devon merchants, including Shabarek and Carrano, organized the event.

Nash credited Dockside for helping to bring more people to the area.

Prior to Dockside, there were shops in Devon, but it recently has given more people more opportunities to see businesses in the area, stated Nash.

“As opposed to before, it just didn’t have the life it had,” she said of the neighborhood. “Dockside was truly transformational for Devon. That really was a kicker to change everything.”