What’s the Scoop?

The Golden Scoop is an ice cream and coffee shop employing individuals with developmental disabilities.


From left, Super Scoopers Paige, Charlie and senior Marie Bruck pose inside the Golden Scoop. Each of the Super Scoopers attended Johnson County Community College and are excited to start working at the Golden Scoop. photo by Mara Callahan

by Sophia Rall, Features Editor

“I just think there’s something to be said for when you grow up or if you have a lot of exposure to somebody who’s different than you are,” The Golden Scoop vice president and Director of Marketing, Culinary and Creative Michelle Reeves said. “I think you learn to be kinder. I think you learn to be more inclusive of people.”

Reeves has been an integral part of creating The Golden Scoop, an ice cream and coffee shop located in Leawood that is set to open this spring. The shop will hire individuals with developmental disabilities, called Super Scoopers. Since the store has not opened yet, it is currently raising funds for operating. Senior Marie Bruck held a fundraiser at STA and raised over $800. The funds will go toward paying Super Scoopers, equipment and day-to-day operations. 

In order to be inclusive in every aspect of The Golden Scoop, Reeves works directly with the Super Scoopers to develop the ice cream flavors. 

“Each month we have a Super Scooper of the month, and they get to work with me and create an ice cream flavor based on the things that they love,” Reeves said. “And with that, they get to market it and they get to name it. They get to do social media posts and blog on our website about it. They get to promote it when people come into the store. And then the coolest thing that we’re doing that we’re excited about is that, we’ll actually have like a discount code. And so, if their friends and family come in and they say like Charlie 10, then they get 10% off their purchase.”

Involving the Super Scoopers goes far beyond developing the ice cream, though. The Golden Scoop also purchased a coffee machine and other equipment so the Super Scoopers could be involved in every aspect of the store. 

“They’ll be working the coffee machines, they’ll be working the registers, they’ll be merchandising the store and of course they’ll be baking and cooking,” Reeves said. “So we really love the idea that in a shift, in a four hour shift or however long their shift is, if they want to do six different jobs that day they can.”

Reeves hopes that The Golden Scoop offers opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as change misconceptions about those individuals. 

“I’m excited for the community to see how skilled our staff is,” Reeves said. “I think the misconception is that if you have developmental disabilities and whether that’s autism or Williams Syndrome or Down syndrome, you’re really not capable of doing a task. The unemployment rates are like 80% for individuals with developmental disabilities, which is heartbreaking. But what we have found is that when they do get jobs, you know, often it’s kind of you’re doing the same thing all day long, or it’s janitorial or sweatshop based work. What I don’t think people realize is how talented [they are], and they really bring a very valuable skill set to a work environment. We’re hoping that, first of all, everyone comes in and just falls in love with them (which they will), but we’re really hoping that other businesses see what we’re doing and decide to hire somebody with a developmental disability because they know that they can do the job.”

Bruck has helped with fundraising events and plans to volunteer once the store opens. 

“Since they haven’t opened, I have been going to their fundraisers,” Bruck said. “I went to one of their first fundraisers and helped out there. What they mainly need is someone to spread the word so I’ve been trying to spread the word about what it is and their mission. I actually just filled out my volunteer application a couple of days ago, since you can apply to volunteer now.”

Bruck has felt called to organizations helping individuals with developmental disabilities since volunteering at the Down Syndrome Guild her sophomore year. 

“I started volunteering there, and I just fell in love with the community and the people there,” Bruck said. “I just wanted to do anything I could to help. It became a part of who I am since I started volunteering with the disability community, and I want to do something with them when I’m older.”

Reeves was inspired to work with individuals with disabilities by her neighbor, Teresa. 

“ [My family]  lived next door to a girl with Down Syndrome when we lived in Houston for 12 years and, honestly, being around Teresa made my kids better kids,” Reeves said. 

Super Scooper Paige is excited for the store to open because she enjoys serving snacks and coffee.

[I’m excited for] having a space where the Super Scoopers get to perform with their different talents,” Paige said.