The University of Delaware’s UDairy Creamery will open its first off-campus location this spring. The storefront at 815 North Market Street, directly across the street from Wilmington’s Grand Opera House, will bring UDairy’s premium, handmade ice cream to downtown Wilmington with a twist.
Students from the Associate in Arts Program will operate the new UDairy Creamery Market, making the ice cream on site from locally sourced milk, serving customers, supervising the storefront and developing the marketplace into a sustainable business.
In addition to UDairy’s ice cream products, honey, wool blankets and other items produced by UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be available for purchase. The farm-to-table menu will include burgers, gourmet grilled cheese, salads and other items straight from the University’s organic garden.
“This is a chance to bring agricultural education to the community,” said Melinda Shaw, UDairy Creamery operations manager. “It will provide a larger agricultural presence as well as awareness to what is happening just a few miles south of Wilmington.”
The University partnered with Wilmington-based developer Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) to develop the project. BPG owns the site and supported a student-run feasibility study to assess the viability of a creamery marketplace.
Together BPG and the students found an unmet demand for ice cream amongst local families, employees with downtown businesses, patrons of nearby entertainment venues, such as the Grand, and other members of the community.
“We are grateful to be part of the revitalization of the area,” she said. “This is an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”
The Buccini/Pollin Group has been the driving force behind the revitalization of downtown Wilmington and its historic Market Street corridor, adding restaurants, entertainment and multi-family housing to the neighborhood.
“BPG’s vision for Wilmington is to have a diverse and vibrant downtown where people choose to live and stay after work to play,” said BPG co-founder Robert Buccini. “We are excited when we can bring more amenities to support the neighborhood and are proud to partner with University of Delaware to bring such a unique establishment to Market Street.”
The location is adjacent to BPG’s proposed Chelsea Plaza project that would demolish the neighboring building to create an outdoor plaza on Market Street. The plaza would open up to Shipley Street and to the Residences at Midtown Park that upon completion will deliver more than 500 parking spaces, 200 luxury apartments and additional retail.
Just like its sister location in Newark, UD students will staff the UDairy Creamery Market, gaining exposure to food science and business management practices.
Students will have a very short commute from their UD Associate in Arts program courses, held both at UD’s Downtown Center, just around the corner, and on Delaware Technical Community College’s campus a few blocks away. More than 400 AAP students combined attend classes at the two campuses in downtown Wilmington.
“We’re a real force,” said David Satran, director of the Associate in Arts program. “We want the students to see that there are opportunities in Wilmington to engage with the community and their curriculum.
“Our students are Delawareans, many of whom are going to stay in the state after graduation. This is part of a larger effort to reconfigure Wilmington as somewhere you want to be because there are opportunities there for internships and for work.”
UDairy Creamery Market is expected to open in the spring with a full staff of student workers and interns. Coursework in food science, business management and entrepreneurship could begin on site as early as the fall 2017 semester.
— UDaily article by Andrea Boyle Tippett; photo by Evan Krape