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Michigan woman raised in Netherlands finds community in making treats, opens pop-up shop

Posted at 12:45 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 12:45:23-05

(WXYZ) — "I speak Dutch, so the word 'lekker' means delicious, yummy, everything good," said Nakija Mills.

Before Nakija found a passion in the world of desserts, she was a young girl in Dominica in the West Indies.

"I was like four or five years old and I made a wish to see snow. And a few years later, I got adopted and moved to the Netherlands and I saw snow," she said.

Nakija grew up there in the Netherlands and in 2008, made her journey to the United States.

"Me coming from the Netherlands, not knowing anyone ... I started dabbling in baking and making treats," she said. "I remember the first time I dipped a strawberry, because I actually took a picture of it. I dipped the strawberry and I put it on the top of the cupcake as a decoration, and I was like, 'ooh, I like this.'"

Her techniques and creations weren’t lost on the people around her with friends quickly taking notice. "She was pushing me like, 'you know, you should do this, you should do this.' So I've always had people behind me."

She decided to officially launch her business Lekker Chócó Treats in 2019, selling dipped strawberry bouquets and other edible gifts online, before a new opportunity presented itself right in her town of Farmington.

"How can we bring new concepts with businesses into downtown and give them a sort of a test run to feel what it would be like to have that brick-and-mortar presence," said Kate Knight, executive director of the Farmington Downtown Development Authority.

When Browndog Barlor and Restaurant in Farmington had to temporarily close during the pandemic, Knight saw an opportunity to allow pop-ups in the space.

"She’s just like this bright, warm, engaging entrepreneur with delicious, delicious product that she's really enthusiastic about sharing with the community," said Knight of Mills.

Mills said, "we offer chocolate covered strawberries on the skewer, bananas on a skewer, mini cupcakes, which is our top seller."

She said what sets her apart is her commitment to finding the very best strawberries and melting chocolate, her presentation and her customer service.

"You come in, you my best friend," laughed Mills.

And while the pop-up spot won’t be forever, Mills said she’s grateful for the chance to bring Lekker Chócó Treats into the community.

"I just feel so blessed ... being a single mom doing this. Sometimes I have my boys working with me. I feel so blessed that the community is so accepting of me," she said.

Mills will be in the Browndog space in Farmington until the end of February, and she says the hope is to continue to find ways to pop up her business.

In the meantime, she said, no matter what, it won’t be the last you’ll see of her or her delicious treats.