Nikki’s Ginger Tea is on the move as products line the shelves in Royal Oak at the new Meijer Woodward Corner Marketplace.

February 13, 2020 | Robert D. Tompkins (Mr. Robert) | One Detroit Community Blogger

Almost a year ago, Beaumont Hospital unveiled plans for its $38.2 million, 117,000 square-foot commercial property housed at 13 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue under the name Woodward Corners.

Deante Sasser and Monique Sasser setting up for the Grand Opening

Now a reality, the development features six buildings, including a Wahlburgers restaurant and a new small-store grocery concept Meijer calls Woodward Corner Market, which provides “local, value and fresh” products to the community, said Natalie Rubino, the store’s director.

With more than 2,000 local items offered throughout the store, other highlights include fresh produce, bakery items, grocery and more. One notable item in the cooler section is Nikki’s Ginger Tea.

It may sound familiar as it’s the ginger tea made in the Detroit eastside community of Islandview by Monique and Andrena Sasser, a mother-daughter duo.

The grand opening in January provided an opportunity for brands like Nikki’s Ginger Tea to reach people who hadn’t yet been introduced to their wares.

Monique and Deante ready to hand out samples

In addition to having a product line in the store, they were also asked to be a local vendor for the Grand Opening event. With their simple setup and friendly disposition, Monique along with her nephew, Deante Sasser, encouraged shoppers to try samples and even buy bottles of the Detroit-made delicacy.

“Though it’s been a long time coming, we’re so happy to branch out a little further and meet new people and hopefully gain some new customers who will love our product,” said Monique Sasser, the “Nikki” in Nikki’s Ginger Tea. “Already it’s been a whirlwind of folks coming to shake my hand and are surprised that it’s a black woman behind the drink they’ve purchased elsewhere.”

The opportunity to move out into new territory took a lot of planning and also brought a lot of anxiety as they have to account for demand in an unfamiliar locale.

Deante engaging taste testers on flavor combinations and health benefits

“My mom has the recipes, and I have a vision,” said Andrena, cofounder of Nikki’s Ginger Tea. “This opportunity will definitely impact our business and allow us both new customers and opportunities to increase staffing in order to roll out new products that have yet to hit the market. We want our customers, new and longtime, to continue to be surprised by how far and wide our products will pop in stores and on shelves.”

People were lined up the aisle for the free samples being handed out at their booth nearest the beverage section. Some even returned for second and third helpings. They weren’t just taking samples; they were buying bottles to take home.

Deante remarked, “I enjoy doing this kind of work. Turning strangers into tasters and possibly customers. I focus on just one sample, and usually they’ll try another flavor, then all the flavors and want a bottle to go.”

With Royal Oak, Birmingham, Berkeley and the surrounding area now learning more about this local brand, you can bet more interest will be drummed up as a result of this partnership.

Featured Image: Nikki’s Ginger Tea, Photo by Michael Sellers

Nikki’s Ginger Tea is a Detroit-owned and operated beverage distributor with more than 20 years of experience in the natural health market, offering six flavors of all-natural, vegan ginger tea and other ginger-based products including sauces, candles and candies.