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Baking goods and breaking stereotypes at Grounded Cafe

Posted at 10:46 PM, Nov 01, 2022

GREEN BAY — Lucas Schmechel has been at Grounded Cafe since 2017. He started as a volunteer and now works 20 hours a week as a cafe ambassador.

He said he's loved every minute of it and especially working with customers.

"Everybody is so kind, and I like being kind back to them," Schmechel said.

The cafe, located in Green Bay, recently celebrated five years since opening their doors, and in that time, Schmechel said the cafe has done so much for the community and for him.

“I’ve learned socialization talk to the customers," Schmechel said. "I used to be really shy, so it really opened myself up.”

He said he wears many hats at the cafe, which include making drinks, cleaning dishes and helping with the baked goods.

However, Grounded Cafe is more than just the baked goods and coffee it sells.

It's a non-profit, program-based cafe that provides job training and opportunities for people with disabilities.

"Our mission is to break down stereotypes, stop ageism and create opportunities for those that are a part of our programming," Samantha Schmunck, Grounded Cafe Lead, said.

Schmunck said celebrating five years this past Saturday was an exciting feat for the cafe, and the cafe has big plans for the future.

"We are getting a food truck, and we hope to be releasing that this Spring. We have several new trainees," Schmunck said. "We've partnered with the school district, so our program is just growing and growing."

Schmunck said the success of the cafe is incredible, but the most incredible part of everything is being able to give everyone a chance to "feel a part of something."

"I come to work every day with a smile on my face knowing that I get to work with and be around some of the most amazing people," Schmunck said. "Every day you walk in, and you learn something new."