Employment April 29, 2021
Kansas ice-cream shop & cafe run by developmentally disabled adults helps beat pandemic blues
At a time when many businesses are feeling the impact of the pandemic, starting an ice cream shop seems reckless. However, The Golden Scoop in Kansas, United States, is scripting a different story. This ice cream shop run by developmentally disabled adults is winning the hearts of the local community.
“You can’t buy happiness but you can always buy ice cream”, goes a famous saying. And there’s nothing better than ice cream to chase away the blues in these pandemic times. That conviction explains Lindsay Krumbholz, Amber Schreiber and Michelle Reeves‘s decision to start an ice cream shop and cafe run by adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities at a time when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt across the United States.
Called The Golden Scoop, this ice cream shop in Overland Park in the state of Kansas, is run by 23 intellectually and developmentally disabled adults called Super Scoopers.
Few jobs for disabled adults
“The Super Scoopers are involved in every aspect of the business from greeting, working the cash register, making ice cream and coffee, cleaning the store, and helping prepare baked goods’, says Krumbholz. Krumbholz had 18 years of experience working with developmentally disabled children and young adults. This opened her eyes to the staggering lack of jobs for disabled adults.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, around 80% of people with a disability were without jobs in 2019.
Krumbholz came up with the idea of starting a business to create jobs for intellectually and developmentally people after working for Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy and doing in-home care with young disabled adults. After talking to their parents, she realised their main concern was their child getting a job and gaining independence. She modelled The Golden Scoop after two similar ventures. One is a café run by disabled adults in the East Coast and the other is an ice cream shop run by adults with developmental disabilities in Dallas, Texas.
Community support for cafe run by disabled
Along with her sister Amber Schreiber, who has a background in business, Krumbholz developed a plan for an ice cream shop and cafe run by disabled adults. Many of the developmentally disabled adults involved in The Golden Scoop are people Krumbholz has interacted with over the years. This includes the first person she worked with 18 years ago who is now a co-worker.
Reeves, who is Vice-president and Director of Culinary and Creative, has prior experience working at a non profit for disabled people. She also has a background in catering and works closely with the Super Scoopers to develop flavours.
Krumbholz has hired most of the Super Scoopers through her connections in the local community. Seventeen of the developmentally disabled adults employed here came on board even before the shop even officially launched. They were hired through Golden Stars, a dance class for developmentally disabled adults.
Thanks to the overwhelming response, we have also been able to collaborate with other organisations that provide services for individuals with disabilities that help us with baked goods. We love that we can be the glue that brings all these organisations together and we look forward to sharing with families all the resources that are out there. – Lindsay Krumbholz, Co-founder, The Golden Scoop
Training was provided to the team by an Employment Services Advocate. The Super Scoopers also created training videos with a life coaching company called Team Cura. This equipped them with the knowledge to achieve success in their work and personal lives. All the adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities employed here are supported by the managing staff with the help of volunteer coaches.
Super Scoopers get creative
There’s plenty of opportunity for the Super Scoopers to display their creativity as well. The fun part of the job profile is creating a flavour of the month. At the store opening there were eight flavours. One of them was Lucy 41, a dairy-free vanilla ice cream flavour named after Super Scooper Lucy Wagner, and the number of attempts it took to perfect the recipe.
Launching a venture in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was quite challenging, admits Krumbholz. “It took us a little longer to get our 501(c)(3) and get construction started”. This is a portion of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and a specific tax category for non-profit organisations. What kept the founders going was the conviction that the community needed some positive news. “We were happy that we could be that for our guests”, adds Krumbholz.
The response from the local community towards this ice cream shop and cafe run by disabled adults has been overwhelming. Many local vendors and businesses are reaching out to support this venture which is playing a crucial role in providing jobs for disabled adults, a category overlooked in the job market. The Golden Scoop aims to nurture an environment in which disabled adults feel empowered and successful by offering them job opportunities and create larger awareness at the same time.
“We have been so fortunate by the outreach from people near and far. Because of all the support, it’s allowing us to have a successful start, and we look forward to serving many more scoops”, adds Krumbholz.
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