Breaking Grounds, the Main Street coffee shop that’s already distinguished itself from its competitors, has added Treadwell’s soft serve ice cream to the menu.
On a recent weekday, Brett Gray served a dish of sweet, creamy vanilla in a cup to a customer who wanted it topped with M&Ms, sprinkles and pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
The 22-year-old Veterans Memorial High School graduate is one of the cafe workers learning new skills.
The frosty treat couldn’t come at a better time. July’s heat wave set a record in Boston and soared past its previous monthly high from July 1983, according to weather.com. Boston racked up a dozen days of 90-degree-plus high temperatures last month, and the overnight lows were also oppressive.
The idea to serve ice cream came from Steven Rosenthal, a Marblehead resident and founder of West Shore LLC, a Boston real estate private equity company. Two years ago, he donated $1 million to Northeast Arc, the nonprofit owner of the cafe. The Danvers agency’s mission is to assist people with disabilities.
“I wanted to do something different, innovative, even disruptive, in a positive sense,” he said at the time. “The idea was to find a way to literally change lives one at a time.”
Gray, an Arc client, underwent more than three months of training in the coffee shop where he learned to make coffee, sandwiches and espresso drinks. Last month, he was taught to serve ice cream and clean the $8,000 machine.
“This job has meant I can learn all kinds of different things,” he said. “I’ve learned how to make yogurt, oatmeal, chicken salad, and last week I was trained to work the espresso machine. At first, it was kind of hard, then it got easier.”
City Councilor-at-Large Thomas Gould, owner of Treadwell’s ice cream and an Arc booster, conducted the training.
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