After nearly a year in business, Mitchell Coffee House—Milton’s only coffee shop—will close its doors Dec. 22.
In a Facebook post, the Mitchell family said the shop will close “due to the large influx of traffic which has led to a lack of available parking for our patrons.”
Owner Rhonda Mitchell declined an interview with The Gazette in an email, stating, “...at this point we’re on ‘coast’ for the next few weeks and are trying to enjoy our customers during this holiday season!”
The family is searching for a new venue in Milton, according to the post.
Mitchell also commented from her personal Facebook page: “I also want to say how agonizing this decision has been for our family. It is a complex issue, and the best answer for us is to find another venue that is sustainable.
“We love Milton, and our full intention is to reopen here in this wonderful community.”
Mitchell House is located in the former United Methodist Church at 819 E. High St. It shares the building with the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, Our Journey Fitness, Catwalk Salon and Affinity Massage.
Dani Stivarius, chamber executive director, said Tuesday she was not exactly sure of the reason for Mitchell Coffee House’s closing, but she has seen an influx of traffic since the Milton School District moved more 4K classes into Small Wonders 4K Learning Center this fall.
R&B Properties owns the Mitchell Coffee House property, Small Wonders and the parking lot both locations share, according to Rock County land records.
Stivarius said the two locations share a landlord.
Mitchell did not confirm whether the 4K center was the cause of her parking concerns.
Parking and traffic concerns were among the top priorities before the district moved three additional sections of 4K into Small Wonders this year, said Jennifer Cramer, principal at Milton East Elementary School.
The school district has held 4K classes at Small Wonders for six years.
District staff had many conversations with Small Wonders staff about parking prior to the move, Cramer said.
To alleviate concerns, Cramer provided families with maps showing options for parking and traffic flow during pick-up and drop-off times. Milton 4K teachers are directed to park away from the businesses.
The district’s 4K classes run from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
The Mitchell family did not reach out to the school district to discuss parking concerns, said Jerry Schuetz, district director of administrative operations.
The chamber of commerce is not affected by parking because it does not experience a lot of regular traffic, Stivarius said. She said she planned to meet with Mitchell and others to discuss parking.
Parking concerns are signs that Milton is growing, which is a good problem to have, Stivarius said.