Join them on Saturday August 13 to celebrate the Market & Café’s renaming with an open house.
PENN YAN — Milly’s Pantry has evolved since its foundation in 2008, and this evolution is now becoming essential.
The Pinwheel Market & Café on Main Street underwent some physical changes earlier this year, starting with new paint, lighting and shelving that made it a brighter and more attractive place to browse art local and artisan food, and to take advantage of the old-fashioned soda fountain, an espresso bar and a variety of baked goodies.
Market Renovation Volunteers – The market is especially grateful to Lori Fleet, Sam Castner, Jen Hoke, Anna, Emma and Eva Fleet, Piper Castner, Kyle Wheeler, Nate Wright, Fran and Ray Willis, Anne Meyer-Wilber, Dave Mastroberti, Chuck Georgia, Char Wilkinson, Bradley Pielaw, Andrea Cornett, Marely Feriateon, Kelley Reynolds, Jackson Arnold, Carter Bentley, Irene Worth, Sharon Osborne, Scott Steele, Pauline Young, Bob Kayes, Dave Kayes, Mike and Karen Marshall, Diane Irwin, Deborah Koop, Paulina and Nina Reed and everyone who took the time to show their support for Milly’s Pantry’s mission. Special thanks also to Pinckney Hardware, Bee Hive Antiques, Habitat for Humanity, Lowes Hardware (Waterloo), Schuler Electric Corp (Painted Post), ServU Credit Union (Painted Post), the Penn Yan Moose Club, the Penn Yan Elks and The Lions Foundation for all they have done to support this process.
Now that the renovations are complete, The Pinwheel Market & Café will be renamed to suit the tribute to Milly Bloomquist by the name of the organization – the storefront at 19 Main St. will henceforth be known as Milly market and café. New signs above the door and at the windows will announce the new name.
Milly’s Pantry Board of Directors, volunteers and staff invite Penn Yan residents and visitors to the city to join them on Saturday, August 13 to celebrate the renaming of the market and cafe during a open house which will include a tasting of some of the homemade desserts and beverages available year round as well as many artisan foods available from a wide variety of local food producers. Raffles will be held for a gift certificate and homemade pie – anyone who purchases at least $20 on a single visit to Milly’s Market & Café in August will be an automatic entrant for the prize of their choice.
Milly’s Pantry was founded in 2008. Its initial mission was to raise funds for a Weekend BackPack program which provided extra weekend food packs to 27 children as part of a pilot program. The nonprofit has grown into an organization that, with the help of local private grants and the generosity of donors from Penn Yan and beyond, provides these food parcels each week to 3 to 400 children in Yates County. . Several years after its founding, Milly’s Pantry adopted a small program that aimed to improve students’ academic readiness by distributing limited school supplies to approximately 400 local children – and expanded this program to provide backpacks and school supplies to nearly 1,500 Yates County students in pre-k through high school.
By purchasing the abandoned historic building at 19 Main Street in 2008, the founders of Milly’s Pantry envisioned a place where the community could gather to support activities and businesses that would, in turn, fund Milly’s Pantry programs that benefit community children. It was the organization’s long-term goal for Milly’s Market & Café to become both a community hub on Main Street and a hands-on demonstration of that community’s ability to support its own.
In 2019, Milly’s Pantry was supported by the community and selected to receive a portion of the funds made available through the Governor’s $10 million grant for the Penn Yan Downtown Revitalization Initiative. As COVID-19 delayed the early stages of the project and the passage of time made the ambitious construction project more expensive, efforts have recently restarted to add an elevator to the Milly’s Pantry building. This will make the second floor offices and commercial kitchen/great room complex as well as the third floor ballroom accessible to the community. Business incubation opportunities as well as venues for private and community events are planned. Architects and contractors have been recruited to help the organization move from imagination to reality – the next step will be to embark on a fundraising campaign to raise funds to close the gap between the initial estimates of the project and its current probable cost.
Throughout his life, whether on large projects such as the construction of elevators or the daily work of welcoming and serving visitors at Milly’s Market & Café or the invaluable help provided by large and small donors, Milly’s Pantry has depended on the participation and generosity of the Yates County community. Anyone interested in joining the organization in any capacity will be welcome.
As Milly’s Pantry continues to evolve, the board, staff and volunteers never fail to remember that at the start of Milly’s Pantry was Milly Bloomquist – who moved to Penn Yan as a young woman, then spent her life improving the lives of the community around her – and especially for her children. She was honored in 2011 with a Presidential Citizens Medal – nominated by her granddaughter for this honor and awarded President Obama’s Medal. She has been honored by many local organizations and generations of people she knew and families she helped remember her fondly. She remains at the heart of the organization as she is an indelible part of Penn Yan’s persona.