MILTON – John Bartholomew and the toddlers from the YMCA Daycare create a bit of a parade in the borough.
“When we take the kids for a walk around town, the other businesses come out and talk to the kids and high five and ooh and ahh at how adorable they are,” Bartholomew said, adding that’s what he likes about Milton. “Little things like that. The community really gets involved.”
“Milton has always been a blue-collar town,” said Chris Rantz, of American Heritage Crafters, a division of Kuhns Brothers Log Homes. “I like that about us. We welcome people. We’re a gracious community.”
That graciousness struck Frank Rodriguez, who saw a need for a barbershop that offers more urban hair styles. When he opened Against the Grain, in April, neighboring businesses welcomed him. In fact, Main Street Manager George Venios’s father once owned the place.
“He showed me pictures from the ’30s,” Rodriguez said with a big smile. “It was a restaurant.”
Like Venios, many residents have a family history in Milton.
“My pop (grandfather) started the store in 1940,” said Jodi (Leeser) Doresky of her family’s business, Leeser’s Shoe Store. “It’s just tradition, and we like seeing different generations of children that we have fitted for shoes.”
Across the street from Leeser’s, Cara Cameron Ulrich opened The Downtown Xchange, A “New to You” Clothing Boutique. Ulrich, a Milton High School graduate like Doresky, moved away for several years, then returned to her hometown, drawn by the safety and camaraderie of a small community.
“People here are very friendly,” she said. “All the local businesses are very helpful. If you get involved, there’s a lot to do.”
American Heritage Crafters is practically a mini Milton High reunion.
“All four of the girls who work here, we all graduated from Milton (High School) and live in Milton,” Rantz said, “which I think is kind of cool. We’re homebodies.”