Dreams Can Cone True: “Scott’s Ice Cream” a truly delicious success story

Scott stand proudly in front of his new ice cream machine

Scott and his new ice cream machine

It’s not everyday you meet a 23-year-old entrepreneur. And though Scott didn’t necessarily set out to become an entrepreneur, which is certainly not to say that he isn’t super hard working and driven, sometimes things just come together in the most organic way possible. For Scott, the past few years have been a steady climb toward success, and all of us at CIP couldn’t be prouder of seeing him make his own way. After graduating from a transition program in 2001, Scott and his mother toured many programs in the Twin Cities Metro area, looking for an organization that emphasized social capital and equal-wage employment advocacy. Having graduated from Transition Plus with a Serve Safe certificate, Scott was in a good place to find a job working in the restaurant industry. Working with his employment consultant, and exploring the Discovery Process, Scott landed his first gig a local Minneapolis bakery, and so began his journey in the world of culinary arts. When Scott was ready for a change of scenery, the universe was also on board.

There are a couple of adages that best sum up Scott’s career path: “it’s who you know” and also “timing is everything.” The timing part, because summer was drawing near and Bread and Pickle was on the hunt for a stellar team for the summer season. The “it’s who you know” adage stems from a great relationship that was established with the Entrepreneurial powerhouse that is Kim Bartmann. You may not know Kim Bartmann by name, but our guess is that you may be familiar with some of her work if you have lived, or dined out, in the Twin Cities in recent years. Bartmann is the mastermind behind Red Stag Supper Club, Bryant Lake Bowl, Pat’s Tap, Gigi’s Cafe, Bread & Pickle, Barbette, and the forthcoming Tiny Diner.

It was Kim’s commitment to community, sustainability and a desire to hire more inclusively that set the wheels in motion for Scott’s employment at Bread and Pickle over on Lake Harriet. Specifically, she wanted to reach out to hire employees that otherwise faced barriers to employment. As the summer season began to wrap up at Bread and Pickle, Scott had the opportunity to make a transition into the kitchen of another one of Bartmann’s successful outfits, this time Gigi’s Café in Uptown.

Scott, Kristi, Jerry and Josh can't wait to get this ice cream machine cranking!

Scott, Kristi, Jerry and Josh can’t wait to get this machine cranking!

In the kitchen at Gigi’s kitchen Scott jumped right in prepping food, portioning, separating, cutting, chopping, and he also had the chance to work with Kristi Varner, who manages the bakery. Under her tutelage, Scott’s been helping out with special projects, assisting with inventory, even making the delicious cheddar crackers for Pat’s Tap (you know ‘em if you’ve had ‘em!)

With all this great experience under his belt, and a great network of individuals on his side, CIP’s Supported Employment Manager, Josh Dean, put in motion an opportunity for Scott to become a rockstar entrepreneur.  Because he receives benefits from the Social Security Administration, Josh recognized that Scott was eligible for a resource known as a Pass Plan (Plan to Achieve Self-Support).

Scott's first batch of ice cream

Scott’s first batch of ice cream!

The PASS Plan is a program that allows Scott to purchase a machine or item that will help him gain new/and or more employment. For Scott, this resource comes in the most delicious possible form: an industrial grade ice cream machine.  Through the PASS, Scott’s benefits will be unaffected, but he is obligated to pay back investors or loans of the project with half of his wages. So basically what this means is that by leveraging social capital between all the interested parties: Scott, CIP, The Center for Social Capital, and each of Bartmann’s restaurants that he will be supplying ice cream to, Scott has secure employment and is headed down a delicious path to self-sufficiency. In addition, Scott will be working 30-40 hours a week as a dedicated, long-term employee of Gigi’s Cafe, which will include built in wage increases to compensate him for his efforts.

One of the coolest things about this arrangement is that it’s beneficial to all the invested parties, not to mention that the ice cream he produces will be branded after him, which means, he’s going to be a pretty big deal at the local culinary hotspots around the Twin Cities. In Josh’s words, “this whole project is just a different way and perspective of doing business and employing people with disabilities.   For Scott, this is truly a life changing opportunity for him.  Not many people in Scott’s position have fair-wage employment as an option, let alone owning their own ice cream machine, being employed to make ice cream and to have a product branded after him.”

If you are interested in learning more about nitty gritty details of the the Plan to Achieve Self-support, Josh Dean is your man.  Please reach out with any questions or interest in finding out whether you are eligible for this resource, or to connect someone else with it (email: wdean@cipmn.org or call 612.353.4595 ext 114). Here at CIP we could not be more excited to watch Scott become a master at his craft, as well as to set in motion many more partnerships of this kind for limitless numbers of individuals who identify as having a disability or barrier to work.

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled, and your taste buds tantilized for “Scott’s Ice Cream”, due to hit all seven of Bartmann’s eateries by mid to late July.  It’s ridiculously good ice cream.

A special thanks to Charlie Schwandt and Bruno Oakman for their hand in making this come together. With fond remembrance, this project is dedicated to David Hammis.  A true friend of our community and a fierce advocate.  

A portion of the loan fund was established through a grant to the Center for Social Capital (the non-profit arm of Griffin-Hammis Associates, LLC) from the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation. For more information about the K-Fund Microloan Initiative, go to: http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/dsd/ddp/selndocuments/K-FundPressRelease.pdf



  1. Karen Nelson · · Reply

    Congratulations Scott!

  2. lizzyfishsticks · · Reply

    this is what i’m talking about! way to go Scott, way to really go Kim Bartmann. real life heroes.

  3. stephen carr · · Reply

    cool story about Scott. I am coming to dinner on Tuesday.

  4. Sue Nash · · Reply

    What a special story. I just popped online to find this website, because I wanted to go back to Gigi’s. Now I want to check out that ice cream!! So good to see people helping people!!

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