Frozen Desert Sorbet and CityWide Youth Development Open Facility in Port Covington

| June 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

Rasheed Aziz, the owner of Frozen Desert Sorbet and CityWide Youth Development, has opened a 7,600 sq. ft. facility for his companies at 240 W. Dickman St. in Port Covington. The 43,260 sq. ft. building at 240 W. Dickman St. was part of the former Atlantic Forest facility, which recently relocated to Tradepoint Atlantic at Sparrows Point. Owner Sagamore Development has completed renovations to the building, including a painted exterior, new flooring, painted interior offices, and bathroom upgrades, and is making it a hub for workforce development non-profits. Potential Me, also moved into a 1,272 sq. ft. space.

Aziz attended North Carolina Central where he studied Clothing and Textiles, but also had a mentor while in Durham, NC who ran a mobile Italian ice company. The skills he acquired during this time in his life have shaped what his companies are today. CityWide Youth Development, an entrepreneurship program for Baltimore youth, is launching a workforce development program to teach young people about screen printing and embroidery. Frozen Desert Sorbet, which was started seven years ago, deploys mobile sorbet carts to busy locations around Baltimore, as well as to special events on weekends.

Frozen Desert Sorbet

Frozen Desert Sorbet’s sorbet is now created in Port Covington using the machines Aziz acquired from Rita’s locations that were closing. The 12 flavors of sorbet the company offers is made using fresh fruit, which is purchased locally as much as possible, water, and a small amount of sugar. Frozen Desert Sorbet has manufactured its own carts which can be found at five Baltimore City pools including Riverside Park and Cherry Hill Splash Park, and outside business hubs such as State Center, University of Maryland Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the William Donald Schaefer Building. Aziz credited Councilman Eric Costello, Senator Bill Ferguson, and Delegate Antonio Hayes for helping to secure these locations.

The 10 carts are managed as micro-enterprises for young Baltimore City adults. This year, there are 15 young adults in the program, which runs from mid-May to September. Frozen Desert Sorbet has two managers who handle the logistics, and drop off the team and carts to the locations. Frozen Desert Sorbet has the capacity to produce more than 100 gallons of sorbet a day.

“I understand the impact businesses have on community development,” said Aziz. He told SouthBMore.com that the majority of the participants come from East and West Baltimore in areas that have often struggled with poverty and unemployment.

New this year will be a location in Port Covington. Frozen Desert Sorbet is planning on setting up a small area outside 240 W. Dickman St. where patrons can purchase a sorbet or smoothie. Frozen Desert Sorbet is planning to add tables, signage, and an awning to this space. It is likely to open in the next few weeks, according to Aziz, and will be open from 10am to 6pm. Aziz is hoping to serve the employees of adjacent City Garage and Port Covington, as well as area residents and workers.

According to Aziz, Frozen Desert Sorbet is growing every year and he’s hoping to sell the sorbet at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Six Flags, and package it for grocery stores, in the future.

Director of Product Development David Lemus

CityWide Youth Development’s screen printing and embroidery training program

CityWide Youth Development has set up a manufacturing facility to teach young Baltimore adults screen printing and embroidery at its Port Covington facility. It is offering a 10- to 12-week training program for participants in partnership with Under Armour’s UA Lighthouse at City Garage. Aziz has identified 15 area companies that are in need of sewing technicians. He hopes to place graduates at these locations and plans to offer the graduates a stipend for their work. The program is funded by multiple foundations, including the Abel Foundation.

As CityWide’s programs get going, Aziz is hoping to start some for-profit clothing, embroidery, and screen printing companies with the participants. Aziz has a clothing line called Made in Bmore, and previously had a retail store.

The space in Port Covington was donated by Sagamore Development, which Aziz described as “pretty awesome.” Aziz was approached by Demian Costa and Marcus Stephens of Plank Industries, which is owned by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and is the parent company of Sagamore Development, over a year ago. Plank wanted to reach out to organizations working with young adults, according to Aziz.

“We are thrilled to offer space at 240 W. Dickman St. to allow CityWide Youth Development to expand its efforts to provide entrepreneurship education, enterprise development, and vocational skill training programs for Baltimore City residents,” said Alicia Wilson, Vice President of Community Affairs for Sagamore Development.

Aziz’s companies also have a 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse at 2112 W. North Ave. in West Baltimore, which Aziz is hoping to renovate and set up as a permanent location for the companies. He said a third of the space will be used as a retail incubator and the other two-thirds will be used for manufacturing and training space.

Rasheed Aziz at the North Ave. facility

Aziz said Frozen Desert Sorbet and CityWide have a two year lease in Port Covington, but they are hoping to always have a Frozen Desert Sorbet retail presence in Port Covington after they move back to West Baltimore. “We understand the people we most need to help are in East and West Baltimore,” said Aziz.

The sewing machines at 240 W. Dickman St.

Paul Fowlkes of  Frozen Desert Sorbet and CityWide Youth Development 

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Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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