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Milk Coffee Bar in downtown Windsor sold, reopens in March

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

 

Published by The Windsor Star | February 17, 2016
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A 22-year-old University of Windsor business student who has purchased Milk Coffee Bar wants a cozier feel without changing too much that made the artsy downtown spot popular.

“There’s a reason it’s been around for so long,” said Arsh Bhatia, who got the keys to the University Avenue West business Wednesday. “People keep coming back. I don’t want to change too much but the same time I do want to make it more cozy.”

Bhatia, who graduates in June, wants to add better lighting, a fresh coat of paint and couches to make it more comfy for the influx of university students from a couple faculties including the School of Creative Arts that is under construction. He’d like to introduce more food, but the drinks that Milk was known for will stay including absinthe and the French-pressed coffee. He expects to reopen in early March.

Angelo Marignani, the former owner who put out the word last month he wanted to sell, said he had 37 people interested.

“It’s a very good sign. So people see that there is a potential, there is a future in our downtown. That’s reassuring,” Marignani said Wednesday as he cleared out some of his things.

Bhatia said he thinks Windsor is about to bounce back after the recession. He’s expecting the exchange rate to attract Americans back to downtown Windsor and he’s banking on attracting a younger crowd with the university and St. Clair College students downtown.

He wasn’t the highest bidder but he was one of the only ones who said he’d keep the name and the venue going, Marignani said. Since opening in 1998, Milk hosted more than 210 different art shows and about 4,000 musicians. The artwork and the entertainment venue is staying so upcoming bands can continue to get their start there.

Bhatia was born in India and moved to Windsor in 2004. He went to Massey Secondary School. His father owns businesses in London including a restaurant. Bhatia, who lived in Europe for a year, wants to bring a bit of the feel of the cafés he saw in Italy, Turkey, Sweden and the Netherlands to Windsor. Milk already has a different feel than other coffee shops downtown.

“It caters to the counterculture and the arts people in Windsor, the alternative scene so they have a place to go. I don’t really see another place like that in Windsor so that’s why I like it.”