Do you want to enjoy a great cup of coffee that brews opportunity? Stop by one of ADEC’s Gaining Grounds Coffee Shops located in Goshen and Middlebury.
Goshen: M – F, 8:00am – 1:00pm Middlebury: M – F, 8:00am – 3:00pm
Through an innovative business model, our Gaining Grounds coffee shops encourage reverse integration by inviting the community into day service locations for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities. The shops are staffed by people with developmental and cognitive disabilities and serve as training centers for ADEC Employment Services clients who are interested in becoming a barista.
The two full service coffee shops serve fresh roasted coffee from The Refinery Coffee Company in Goshen. All mixed coffee drinks are made exclusively with Big Train products—high quality mixes with the freshest ingredients. Store menus are fairly basic since baristas can craft any coffee drink imaginable. Just pick a type of drink from the board and request whatever flavor you currently crave.
The shops boast pleasant seating areas with room to play games or host groups. For example, The Shoots location in Goshen serves as home base for a friendly Euchre game each Wednesday. If your group is looking for a new place to meet, e-mail Toni Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of Gaining Grounds – The Shoots
Gaining Grounds opened at the historic Shoots building in Goshen on May 5, 2009.
When the recession hit in 2008, five ADEC employees (Tena Bowser, Steve Germani, Koleen Linker, Toni Richards and Don Wierenga) put their heads together to find a new avenue for employment and community integration. Several ideas came up, but the coffee shop continually seemed less complicated and friendlier.
“It was a way to invite people into our day programs and show them what we were about,” explained Toni Richards, ADEC Program Manager for The Shoots and Middlebury Day. “It was a way to take away fear and misconceptions.”
The Gaining Grounds location at the Shoots celebrated five years recently and enjoys a dedicated customer base. Several groups have met and continue to meet in the coffee shop on a regular basis, with members developing a friendly rapport with day service clients.
Three clients have trained and worked at the location successfully. Currently, Missy Mast dominates the coffee counter at the Shoots. Many come just to see her and she never forgets a face, or an order!
“She knows,” marvels Toni. “She knows what [regular customers] want. She’ll have their drinks on the counter and ready before they even get to the cash register.”
Many Goshen residents still stumble upon Gaining Grounds for the first time. Travelers frequently stop in and entertain everyone with the stories of their adventures.
“I like how people come in and say, ‘How long have you been here?’” Toni shared. “And they come back.”
As Gaining Grounds continues to build a loyal base in Goshen, Toni looks forward to continuing to experience one of her favorite parts of Gaining Grounds—introducing people to ADEC and the wonderful people served here.
History of Gaining Grounds – Middlebury
ADEC opened its Middlebury Day Services site in August 2010 to better serve clients and families who live in the eastern part of the county. Some of the new site’s staff had worked previously at the Goshen Shoots and knew all about the coffee shop there. They saw Middlebury as the ideal location for a second Gaining Grounds.
Two years later, ADEC was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Elkhart County Community Foundation to renovate the building, buy equipment and meet health regulations. Due to the new construction, the location received licenses that allow for blending and serving a wider variety of drinks than in Goshen. Gaining Grounds Middlebury opened in August 2012.
With its close proximity to a bank, a retirement community and other businesses, Middlebury quickly drew a loyal group of “regulars,” who stopped in for coffee breaks during working hours or to grab a to-go cup on their way in to the office.
The expanded menu and location also led to Middlebury becoming a training facility for clients interested in the coffee shop process. This allows for Margaret Cook, team manager, and her staff to teach consistency and safety.
Kayla Simmons serves as the barista, and a client, Matt, as the assistant staff member. He wipes down tables, restocks supplies and is tall enough to refill the ice machine. The two of them keep the shop running smoothly and build up community connections.
The most popular drinks at Gaining Grounds for the general public are Frappes. The clients prefer coffees and sweet drinks, while staff love Iced Chai. Everyone agrees The Refinery roasted coffee and Big Train drink mixes set a high standard of quality.