Cook baked goods and break stereotypes at the Grounded Cafe

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

He said he loved every minute and especially working with the clients.

“Everyone is so nice, and I like being nice to them,” Schmechel said.

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

“I learned social skills…to talk to customers,” Schmechel said. “I was very shy, so it really opened me up.”

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

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

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

“Our mission is to break down stereotypes, end ageism and create opportunity for those in our programming,” said Grounded Cafe manager Samantha Schmunck.

Schmunck said celebrating five years last Saturday was an exciting achievement for the cafe, and the cafe has big plans for the future.

“We’re getting a food truck, and we hope to release it this spring. We have several new interns,” Schmunck said. “We have partnered with the school district, so our program is only growing and expanding.”

Schmunck said the coffeehouse’s success is amazing, but the most amazing part of it all is being able to give everyone a chance to “feel like they’re part of something.”

“I come to work every day with a smile on my face knowing that I work with and meet some of the most amazing people,” Schmunck said. “Every day you come in and you learn something new.”

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement