DETROIT (WWJ) – The idea came to Matthew Tuckel and his friend Sawyer Altman in 2011 when they were in high school at West Bloomfield’s Frankel Academy.
Detroit, said Tuckel, wasn’t as hip and popular with the young crowd then as it is now.
“We thought that if we could try and capture the essence of the ‘coolness’ of Detroit, you know, give people a way to give back, and at the same time capture something of what they’d already be doing, we would be onto something,” he said.
The idea: Sell something that students were already buying — specifically energy drinks — and donate a portion of each can sold to Detroit Public schools. That’s how “313 Energy” was born.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. “We made a lot of mistakes and we kind of learned from our mistakes and we got the whole manufacturing bit down to an art; we started selling it,” said Tuckel,” and we kind of realized that what we were doing was meaningful.”
It’s not an overnight Mark Zuckerberg-Facebook-style success. But Tuckel said, for college students, they’re doing pretty well.
The drink is on shelves in 86 stores, with sales building. He estimates they sell about $100,000 worth of drinks each year.
Tuckel didn’t have an estimate of how much money has been donated to Detroit.
But Detroit school spokesperson Jennifer Mrozowski said the donations since 2012 so far total over $800. “Every bit helps,” Mrozowski said.