The University of Delaware’s UDairy Creamery officially launched its first off-campus location on Tuesday, May 23, with a block party on the 800 block of Market Street in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, outside the new Creamery Market Storefront.
The two-hour block party had everything from free ice cream, tributes from dignitaries, an elementary school drumline medley, UD cheerleaders, YoUDee and a poetry reading about ice cream from one of UD’s Associate in Arts students.
Over the two-hour time period, the Creamery handed out 1,500 scoops of free ice cream to those in attendance.
UD President Dennis Assanis kicked off the festivities by welcoming everyone to the storefront and stressing how the new Creamery Market will give the Associate in Arts students a hands-on learning experience while also bringing a sweet treat to the city.
“We are proud to share with you not only our ice cream but also our students,” Assanis said. “At the University of Delaware, we say that students are our product and ice cream is just the byproduct. We are really thrilled that our students from our Wilmington Associate in Arts Program around the corner are going to be the people who will be the part-time employees involved in the production and serving of the ice cream.
“We also don’t just scoop the ice cream here, we actually make it,” he continued. “Experiential learning is a very big part of what we teach our students at the University of Delaware, and it’s all about hands-on learning, literally, and you will be the beneficiaries of the application of the learning today.”
Delaware Gov. John Carney said the revitalization of the city of Wilmington was of the utmost importance to his administration and getting attractions like the University of Delaware on the Market Street Mall will help the city to be successful.
“We need some ice cream downtown number one, and we need business here on the Market Street Mall,” said Carney. “We’ve been working since I was sworn in as your governor three and a half months ago on doing everything that we can to strengthen the neighborhoods in our city, to strengthen our central business district and to make Wilmington strong and vibrant again. You are the folks that are going to make it happen by coming down here on the Market Street Mall, so thank you for coming today.”
Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki, a 1967 UD graduate, said it is truly exciting to have the Creamery in Wilmington, both because ice cream is an admitted guilty pleasure and it is a unique attraction for the city.
“Everybody wants the city to grow in big leaps and bounds, but the city grows in small increments of quality,” Purzycki said. “It’s the small things that make a city great. It’s the little individual things, the things that are special that nobody else has that make your city great, and we welcome you with open arms.”
Michael Hare, senior vice president of the Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), said his firm couldn’t be prouder to have UD as a partner. BPG has been the driving force behind the revitalization of downtown Wilmington and its historic Market Street corridor. The firm partnered with UD to bring the Creamery to Wilmington and owns the site where the Creamery Market Storefront is located.
“The key to getting people to want to work in Wilmington, to want to live here, is to add amenities for our residents who are already here and to make this a compelling city is to bring exciting attractions to our city, and this is an exciting attraction,” said Hare. “We in the city have been working for years to expand the University’s footprint, and I can’t think of a more delicious way to do that. On behalf of the lactose-intolerant in our community, myself included, this is a risk worth taking.”
Hare noted that his uncle majored in agriculture at UD and milked the cows on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus. He said it was a privilege to watch the “full trajectory of cow to cone now that this ice cream is in Wilmington.”
CANR Dean Mark Rieger highlighted the UD students who helped put together the business plan for the Creamery Market Storefront, specifically Keith Medwid, a senior majoring in food and agribusiness marketing and management and the assistant manager intern at the creamery.
“Keith Medwid worked at the Creamery on campus for two years, and he is going to go on to a wonderful career in agribusiness or food science because of his experience in the Creamery,” said Rieger. “The reason that we’re here, and the product of that place across the street is a better educated student.”
Rieger also thanked Melinda Shaw, director of Creamery operations, LeeAnne Ahamad, manager for the Creamery’s Wilmington location, Jen Rodammer, manager of UDairy’s Newark location, and Grace Wisser, CANR event coordinator, for all their work with the Creamery and with putting the opening event together.
Associate in Arts student workers
The new location provides a great job opportunity for many students in the University’s Associate in Arts program.
“It’s my first real day and I already love it,” said Ameerah Taylor, a rising freshman planning to major in early childhood education.
She and her fellow co-workers agreed that UDairy’s willingness to work with their schedules made their lives a lot easier.
Other perks of the job include free ice cream, getting to suggest new flavors and camaraderie.
Derek Simpson, a rising freshman planning to major in biology, said that he had taken classes with some of his co-workers, but working with them in this setting was already bringing them closer together. “When you’re producing ice cream, you get to know people,” Simpson said.
Blaise Cristello, a sophomore planning to major in criminal justice, said that he was most excited to see what new flavors come out of the new location. While he could not disclose the new ones, he was happy to serve the new flavor that had been created for the grand opening: 8th and Market, which was inspired by the new UDairy location and consisted of chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookie swirls and mini-marshmallows.
Medwid said that he is excited to see the impact that the new UDairy Creamery will have.
“I think it’ll be good to get fresh food in here because we’re going to be selling UD produce,” Medwid said. “And I think it’s just a more welcoming face,” he added.
More than UD produce, the creamery will be selling locally sourced foods with a menu that will include grilled cheese using bread from local bakeries and eventually cheese that will also come from UD, cheeseburgers, and salads that feature UD’s produce.
Poetry contest and drumline
The UD Associate in Arts Program held an ice-cream themed poetry contest in conjunction with the event.
The winners were Christian Wills, first place, and runners-up Nolan O’Neill and Daniel L.L. III.
Wills read his winning poem, “Creamery Sensation,” to the crowd ending with the line: “Every cup, every cone, we make it with pleasure, In hopes that you love our ice cream we treasure.”
The Elbert-Palmer Elementary School drumline also was on hand for the event, playing an impressive set that included everything from classical music to a royal-themed contemporary line-up of hits from Prince, Queen and Michael Jackson.
Article by Adam Thomas and Anne Grae Martin
Photos by Evan Krape and Wenbo Fan
This article can also be viewed on UDaily.