Detroit Water Ice Factory opens to help charity

A sweet taste of the east coast is now right in the heart of downtown Detroit.

The Detroit Water Ice Factory has a much bigger mission than just serving up delicious treats. It's a retail operation with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Mitch Albom's charity, S.A.Y. Detroit. And, all employees at the store are part of S.A.Y. Detroit programs or partner programs.

The shop opened Tuesday. Four people, called D-Icers, have been hired through Goodwill Industries to scoop the water ice.

"Water ice is sort of like Italian ices, but anyone who grew up in the Philadelphia, or South Jersey area knows it's much, much better. Great consistency; great flavors." Albom says. "I loved water ice when I was a kid. I've been here 30 years and haven't been able to have it."

So, he explains to FOX 2's Jay Towers and Anqunette Jameson that he walked into a "mom and pop" water ice shop in New Jersey and asked them if they'd like to do something for charity.

"Three years later, we have all their recipes, all their expertise, everything just donated because they wanted to do good - and every penny we raise in this shop goes right back into charity to S.A.Y. Detroit," Albom says. Bedrock Real Estate is also providing the space rent-free to the shop for the next three years.

The shop is located at One Campus Martius, 1014 Woodward Avenue. Prices start at $3.25 and you have 16 flavors to choose from.

Hours are from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Saturday, and noon - 6 p.m. on Sunday.

VIDEO: Watch our interview with Mitch Albom to learn more about the Detroit Water Ice Factory and S.A.Y. Detroit.

S.A.Y. Detroit offers afterschool programs, and various programs for veterans, seniors and those who are homeless.