Get a Scoop at Ice Cream Heaven

Ice cream has always been America’s favorite treat, but Shannon Thomas of Ice Cream Heaven is doing ice cream for the culture.

With flavors like banana pudding, red velvet, peach cobbler, triple chocolate, and other specialty flavors, Thomas says her Miami Gardens gourmet ice cream shop will keep customers coming back.

“The banana pudding ice cream tastes like real banana pudding,” she said. “I wanted flavors that you don’t typically find at ice cream shops, but that reminds you of home.”

Ice Cream Heaven has been in business since 2019. Back then, Thomas used to take her kids to get scoops at the shop, which was then owned by Elric “E Class” Prince. “I used to always frequent the shop with the kids; it was a special treat for us,” she said. “When the opportunity came to buy the company, it was a no-brainer.”

During the pandemic, Ice Cream Heaven completely shut down. No one could enjoy the treats as businesses closed due to COVID-19. Thomas felt the pressure, too, as her mobile bistro saw a decline in visits. The lack of revenue during the pandemic led Prince to sell the business. Because of Thomas’ love of the company, she was a happy buyer.

“I put all my effort into getting this company,” she said.
Thomas hosted a grand reopening on March 19, 2022, attended by former NFL football player Chad Ochocinco and City of Miami Gardens elected officials and other leaders.

She didn’t change much on the menu. “There was nothing to fix because nothing was broken,” she said. But, as a trained chef, Thomas naturally enhanced a few things.
She added specialty flavors and cakes and desserts, like the mini donuts. All ice cream is made in-house and gluten-free. Vegan options also are offered.

Ice Cream Heaven also prides itself on being a gathering spot for the community. It doubles as an event space for children’s parties, corporate events, gender reveals, baby showers and more.

“It’s a safe space for residents,” she said. “You don’t have to go to Pembroke Pines or Wynwood or North Miami. The vibe is here. The staff is super friendly and ready to make everyone feel at home; we want you to come in and stay….Take a load off and enjoy.”

The shop is also about empowering residents. Thomas partners with a local school to hire students. She says nearly all staff members are from Miami Gardens. She also hosts an Easter Extravaganza event for families and sets a portion of her proceeds aside to feed people who are homeless, as well as provide them with basic hygiene items.

Thomas is thankful for her new business venture and has received the support of many Miami Gardens leaders, like the City Councilmembers, Slip-n-Slide Records Owner Ted Lucas, former NFL player Najeh Davenport, and, among others, rappers Flo Rida, Flavor Flav, and Brianna Perry.

Ice Cream Heaven is located at 17560 NW 27th Avenue, Miami Gardens. Hours: Monday through Thursday, 1p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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FIFA announces Miami as Host City for World Cup in 2026

MIAMI Today, June 16, 2022, FIFA the governing body of international soccer announced

Miami-Dade as one of the U.S. hosts for FIFA World Cup 2026™ matches. Local matches will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The 2026 World Cup will be held throughout North America, across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Miami was selected from 16 cities across the United States that submitted bids to host World Cup matches. Each City is expected to host up to six matches, with the exact schedule yet to be determined. Hard Rock Stadium was built to FIFA specifications, and has hosted several high- profile matches, including the highest grossing soccer match in North American history,

El Clásico between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, in 2017.

A press conference is planned for tomorrow Friday, June 17th at Hard Rock Stadium at noon. Statements from elected officials and involved parties below.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava:

“Miami-Dade is the ideal community to host the 2026 World Cup. Our residents hail from every corner of the world, creating a vibrant metropolitan area unlike any other in the United States. Soccer runs through the veins of our county. After years of collaboration with partners across the region, we couldn’t be more proud to welcome FIFA to Miami-Dade.”

Mayor of Miami Gardens Rodney Harris:

"Miami Gardens is proud to be hosting the FIFA 2026 World Cup, as it will now join the ranks of the many other world-class events we have here in the beautiful City of Miami Gardens. We have a great partnership with the Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Dolphins, who have called our City home for many years, and are so excited FIFA has chosen our great City to host the event. The City is certainly looking forward to working with them to ensure the event's success."

City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez:

“As the only urban area in America to host every major sport plus Formula 1, Miami has long established itself as international epicenter of sports and culture—and as one of the most diverse and vibrant areas in the world, I couldn’t be more excited to be hosting the world’s most popular sport on the world’s largest stage. World Cup 2026, welcome home.”

Mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber:

“This is a great moment for our community. Not just because of the economic benefits, but also because it cements our status as one of the world's premier destinations.”

David Whitaker, President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB):

“We’re honored that FIFA has chosen Miami to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Our GMCVB

team, alongside the County and Hard Rock Stadium, as well as our hotel partners and community stakeholders, have worked tirelessly since 2017 through a very competitive process to bring the World Cup to Greater Miami and Miami Beach. We’re thrilled our very compelling bid – and unparalleled travel and tourism experience – have resulted in this day, and we look forward to welcoming the world in 2026.”

Tom Garfinkel, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium:

“We are thrilled that the 2026 FIFA World Cup is coming to Miami. The Hard Rock Stadium campus is a global entertainment destination reflective of the dynamic and international culture of Miami. This selection was a culmination of collaborative work from multiple stakeholders including Stephen Ross, Miami-Dade County officials and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. We are excited to showcase our community on a worldwide stage and deliver an amazing experience and best in class event for players and fans.”


Formula 1® Commits $500,000 and Partners with the Community Fund of North Miami Dade to Support Small Business Owners in Miami Gardens

“Miami Gardens, FL – July 11, 2022 – The Community Fund of North Miami Dade (“CFNMD”), a subsidiary of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC), announced today that Formula 1 has committed to provide a grant of up to $500,000 to support entrepreneurs who own small businesses in Miami Gardens. With this grant, CFNMD will be able to make more loans to the small business owners who need them most. The grant is specifically reserved for residents and businesses in Miami Gardens and is in recognition of the 10-year relationship between the City of Miami Gardens and Formula 1. The Formula 1 Miami Gardens Small Business Loan Program also received $100,000 in additional support from Truist Foundation.

“Because Miami Gardens has over 110,000 residents, close to 6,000 businesses, and a population that is close to 70% African American and 20% Hispanic, Formula 1’s grant is guaranteed to have maximum impact in helping small business owned by historically underserved groups, such as women, African- Americans and Hispanics,” stated Dr. Willie Logan, President and CEO of Opa-locka Community Development Corporation, the CFNMD’s parent company.

Moreover, the CFNMD is the perfect organization to get the money distributed because according to Lia Yaffar, CFNMD’s Executive Director, “CFNMD is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). We are dedicated to providing access to capital to underserved businesses and we are laser- focused on helping communities and entrepreneurs of color thrive. The great thing about what we do is that we don’t just get the money out, we act as partners to the businesses that we service and offer additional layers of support and technical assistance to help them grow,” concluded Yaffar.

“The partnership between the City of Miami Gardens and Formula 1 continues to be beneficial to our community. I am pleased that the organization remains committed to investing in our local businesses by making resources more accessible to them through the Community Fund of North Miami Dade. The availability of resources is beneficial to our businesses, and that enhances the quality of life for our residents, which is an opportunity we gladly welcome,” commented the Honorable Rodney Harris, Mayor, City of Miami Gardens, Florida.”

About the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation
The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) is a forty-year-old mission driven affordable housing developer and community builder. Its mission is to build a strong ecosystem that supports under-resourced communities in creating an equitable and sustainable economy. For more information about OLCDC, please visit

About the Community Fund of North Miami Dade
Established in January 2002, to support OLCDC’s work, the Community Fund of North Miami (CFNMD) is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), providing financial services in low-income communities and to people who lack access to financing. CFNMD promotes financial inclusion and economic development by, among other things, providing small businesses and entrepreneurs in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties within South Florida, with the support and resources they need through technical assistance, one on one counseling, and small business loans. For more information, visit the CFNMD online at