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Motor City Match winner transforms abandoned property into top-tier entertainment venue in Detroit

Feb 27, 2023

  • Soul on Ice is a black-owned, upscale establishment in the heart of Detroit’s Midwest neighborhood
  • Founders Herb and Danielle Sanders opened Soul on Ice to welcome luxury in an area that has embraced change
  • Motor City Match has awarded $11.4M in cash grants, 84% of overall winners are minority-owned businesses and 74% women-owned 
  • Detroit Soul is the 144th operating brick-and-mortar business to have opened to date 


February 27, 2022 (DETROIT) – Today, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and city leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Soul on Ice , marking the 144th brick-and-mortar opened by Motor City Match. The bar and longue has been dubbed by its owners, Herb and Danielle Sanders, as Detroit’s premier entertainment venue, offering a unique and luxurious dining experience for patrons within the city’s Midwest neighborhood. 

“You do not come or leave as a customer, you leave as a friend. We would like our customers to feel the same as a friend or family member would feel,” said Mrs. Sanders. 

The establishment, once an abandoned and aging structure, now boasts a modern and sophisticated atmosphere, complete with sleek furnishings and cutting-edge design. The menu features a range of expertly crafted and “soul-infused” dishes, and a wide selection of cocktails mixed with fresh juices that are squeezed on site by the bar’s mixologists. Patrons can also catch live musical performances from local and internationally renowned soul, R&B, hip-hop and techno artists. 

The Sanders have established a reputation for hosting charitable events benefiting the local community and view this business venture as an extension of their giving. 

“It’s not just about making a profit, but also giving back to the community because we love our people, and the revitalization of Detroit is something that we are very passionate about,” said Mr. Sanders. 

The establishment also provides employment opportunities for residents, contributing to the local economy and helping to reduce unemployment rates. The Sanders pay wages above the bar industry average and treats their employees like family, translating into exceptional services and dining experiences for guests. Ultimately, the Sanders want their establishment to become a permanent fixture within the community that inspires others to make a difference. 

“Every neighborhood deserves to have a quality gathering spot where residents can enjoy good food and entertainment.  We’ve seen a lot of that on the Avenue of Fashion, but Herb and Danielle Sanders are bringing that same experience farther down Livernois to the Midwest neighborhood with Soul on Ice,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are so proud that Motor City Match is helping entrepreneurs like the Sanders open their businesses and bring new vitality to more neighborhoods.” 

The business, located at 8867 Livernois in Detroit, is supported by a $35,000 cash grant from the 19th round of the Motor City Match program, which went towards building renovations. The bar and longue is open during evening hours Wednesday through Sunday. Valet parking is also available. 

“Soul on Ice is a space where people can enjoy excellent food and drinks in an atmosphere that is both chic and inviting,” said Sean Gray, vice president of Small Business Services for the DEGC. “We are excited to have this new, upscale dining experience for residents of the community.” 

After 21 rounds, Motor City Match has distributed $11.4 million in grants for start-ups and new businesses located throughout the city of Detroit. Through the pipeline of resources provided by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s small business teams, more than 1,600 businesses have received assistance along their journey to open their doors. This is all part of the organization’s greater goal to enhance the city’s economic development and beautify its commercial corridors. 

Motor City Match continues to grow Detroit’s small-business landscape.
Combined with its other small business programming, DEGC is creating a sustainable small business environment that nurtures new concepts and ideas. Motor City Match offers business owners a wide range of assistance in five tracks: Plan, Develop, Design, Cash and Restore. The program helps Detroit entrepreneurs plan, formalize, launch, and grow their business by providing business planning classes, site-selection assistance, financial planning, legal aid, design services, and gap funding.   

Through 21 rounds of Motor City Match: 

  • Total cash grants: $11.4 million (Total leveraged investment: $61.6 million) 
  • Total business open: 144 
  • 84 percent are minority-owned businesses 
  • 74 percent are women-owned businesses 
  • 69 percent are businesses owned by Detroit residents 


About Motor City Match
Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions and corporations including, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, Ford Foundation, Fred A. and Hudson Webber Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, New Economy Initiative, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Motor City Match applications are available quarterly. More information is available at

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