S.A.Y. Detroit Opens Detroit Water Ice Factory

Aug 4, 2015 | News | 0 comments





Detroit (August 4, 2015)- Detroit, a city known for its own iconic foods, is about to get its first taste of a delicious, refreshing and iconic dessert – and every dime raised will go to help fellow Detroiters.

The Detroit Water Ice Factory opens its flagship location at 1014 Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit (on the street level of the former Compuware Building) on Tuesday, August 4th at 11 AM. The first 300 customers will receive a free water ice or Motown Twist.

The brainchild of author, columnist, and philanthropist Mitch Albom, the store follows the “Newman’s Own” model of philanthropy, offering a delicious, top-of-the-line food product, with the sole goal of raising funds to help others.

The Detroit Water Ice Factory is a partnership between Albom’s S.A.Y. Detroit family of charities, a 100 percent dollar-in-dollar out philanthropic entity, and the Detroit Rescue Mission (which helped with construction), Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, Bedrock Real Estate Services and Meridian Health.

100% of the profits from The Detroit Water Ice Factory will go to helping Detroit’s neediest citizens under S.A.Y. Detroit’s “umbrella”, an umbrella which serves newborns to senior citizens, our honored veterans, in homeless shelters, a family health clinic, and placing deserving families in homes through its Working Homes/Working Families initiative.

Water Ice is related to, but not exactly like Italian Ice. It contains no preservatives and is best enjoyed right after it is made for optimal deliciousness. The recipe calls for less sugar and more natural fruit and fruit base (not fruit flavoring) than other similar products, creating a dessert that is so smooth, creamy-tasting and delicious. It does not contain dairy products and is 100% fat-free.

The store will feature 17 delicious flavors of D-ICE water ice – including Woodward Watermelon, Motown Mint, The Zetterberry, and Corktown Cotton Candy – scooped to perfection and served in iconic orange cups. Flavors will have a distinctly Detroit tone (Vanilla Temptations, Stafford’s Strawberry Lemonade, Riverfront Root Beer) sure to become staples of a downtown visit. Customers can also enjoy “The Motown Twist”, water ice layered with vanilla, chocolate, or vanilla-chocolate, soft serve ice cream.

“I grew up loving water ice,” says Albom, who hails from the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, “but I’d never seen it here. It’s fat-free, cholesterol free and dairy-free, and in looking for a way to do good, have fun, and relive the smiles we had as kids indulging in the best dessert ever, it all came together.”

The Detroit Water Ice Factory will make fresh water ice daily using closely guarded and until now, secret recipes donated by Jon and Adriana Adams, the owners of the award-winning Primo Water Ice in Westmont NJ, widely considered the best in an area that is the birthplace of American water ice.  The couple met Albom a few years ago, and responded to his request to create something charitable in the dessert food business.

Bedrock and Meridian Health, co-owners of the building, are providing the premier location for this new venture rent-free, giving the shop its best chance for success in a highly trafficked popular section of the Central Business District, near the thriving Campus Martius area. 

“Mitch Albom and S.A.Y. Detroit are doing wonderful work in our community. We are proud to be part of this effort,” said Dan Mullen, Executive Vice President, Bedrock Real Estate Services. “The Detroit Water Ice Factory will benefit countless Detroiters while providing another cool, unique destination people will only find downtown.”

The store’s “D-Icers” – the team of servers scooping the new taste sensation – will all be members of Goodwill Industries’ youth training programs or graduates of other S.A.Y. Detroit partner programs, thus providing jobs for some of Detroit’s challenged young people.

“This is such a welcome opportunity for the graduates of our youth training program,” said Lorna G. Utley, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. “The reason Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit exists is to provide opportunities, and this partnership certainly does that by providing jobs for young people in the city of Detroit who can truly benefit from them.”

“We are here to create jobs, raise funds, do good – and eat ourselves silly with the coolest dessert ever,” said Albom.

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About S.A.Y. Detroit                                                                                               

S.A.Y. Detroit, formed in February 2006, is a fully formed 501(c) (3) charity aimed at improving the lives of the neediest citizens, through shelter, food, medical care, volunteer efforts and education. It serves as the umbrella for ongoing major projects including A Time to Help, S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic, and Working Homes/Working Families, and funds dozens of projects for Detroit-area Agencies. 

To learn more about S.A.Y. Detroit, visit mitchalbomcharities.org

About Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit

Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit is solely dedicated to helping local individuals overcome challenges and secure employment. In just the past year of the organization’s rich history, Goodwill Industries has placed more than 1,300 Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county individuals into new jobs and provided job training, education and placement services to more than 13,000 individuals in the region. Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit has been helping Metro Detroiters become Trained, Trusted and Ready to Work for more than 90 years. For information, visit http://www.goodwilldetroit.org.

About Bedrock Real Estate Services

Detroit-based Bedrock Real Estate Services is a full-service real estate firm specializing in acquiring, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial and residential space. Since its founding in 2011, Bedrock has located more than 130 tenants in Detroit’s technology and Central Business District in both office and retail spaces. In addition, Bedrock and its affiliates have invested more than $1.8 billion in 75+ properties in downtown Detroit totaling more than 12.5 million square feet.

For more information, please visit www.bedrockmgt.com or engage with us on Twitter @BedrockRES and Facebook.com/BedrockRES. Editor’s Note: The Detroit engagement timeline and tenant list are available here.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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