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The original item was published from 4/11/2022 10:54:00 AM to 4/11/2022 10:54:50 AM.

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Posted on: April 11, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Downtown Delights: Sweet success of Jackson business expanding to downtown ice cream shop

Robert and Yvette Wilkie

There’s a “cool” new business in Downtown Jackson that is ready to provide relief from climbing temperatures this spring. RJ’s Metropolitan Ice Cream Co. at 135 E. Michigan Avenue is the latest confection of Robert and Yvette Wilkie. “It’s been a busy place. We’re gearing up for the warm season,” Robert said.

The Metropolitan Ice Cream Co. was already open for one year when the husband and wife team took ownership last fall. “It was a great business opportunity. We’ve been wanting to get downtown for a while,” Robert said. With the RJ’s name now atop the sign, the family-run business has been making the space their own. “We’ve been adding our own twist and making it a little sweeter. We’re constantly looking for ways to evolve it,” Yvette said.

Eight years ago, the couple started with RJ’s Heavenly Delights. The bakery and dessert business has since expanded into a shop on N. West Avenue. Their new downtown venture has lots to offer, with ice cream, milkshakes and burgers on the menu. The Wilkies say the eatery’s bright, cheery atmosphere is winning regular customers. “It’s a cute place for kids and families to come,” Yvette said.

They also have the distinction of being one of the few Black-owned businesses in Downtown Jackson, something that’s a point of pride for the couple. “I think that’s actually very exciting, and the encouraging thing is that other minorities who come in here say it’s inspiring to them,” Yvette said. When they’re not working or raising their daughter, the Wilkies are active in the community. They recently hosted the Jackson Black Excellence Community Awards, which honors African American residents making an impact. “It’s important to have that representation. We like that it’s inspiring people,” Yvette said.

Two other businesses also opened on the same block of E. Michigan Avenue in 2021; Ogma Brewing Co. and the Marketplace Manna Around the World Shop, a fair trade store that moved downtown from the Jackson Crossing Mall.

Inside Metropolitan

Outside Metropolitan

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