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After a decade of operation, the Lincoln Perk at Bethesda Home has established a reputation as a gathering spot for the Goessel community.
The location benefits the nursing home as well, Bethesda CEO Sara Hiebert said.
“Residents who moved in when they needed more care have still been able to be a part of the coffee groups,” she said. “They’ll come out here and join in if they feel like it.”
Lincoln Perk also gives family members of Bethesda, Hiebert said.
“That’s probably been our biggest draw,” she said. “Once they have a resident here, they come to visit and actually come in.”
Lincoln Perk also draws stay-at-home moms and students getting out of school, shop manager Becky Wedel said.
“It’s amazing how many kids, even little kids, come in to have their drinks and sugar cookies,” she said.
Another benefit of attachment to Bethesda is access to a full kitchen, which the shop uses to make cookies and muffins.
Lincoln Perk opened under former Bethesda administrators Eric Schrag and Linda Peters, and over time, it began operating independently of the Hesston shop. That changed though, when Brad and Christine Schweitzer took over in Hesston, Hiebert said.
“Now that Brad and Christine are running that Lincoln Perk, we’ve really, in the last year, built up a relationship,” she said. “We’ve really been trying to coordinate services.”
Partnership with the Schwiezters means promotions are taken care of for the Goessel location, Hiebert said.
Wedel became the manager five years ago. In addition to Wedel, there are six baristas, several of whom are high schoolers.
“Having the high schoolers work here gets them into Bethesda,” she said. “It shows that nursing homes are not bad places.”
It’s convenient working at a place with shorter shifts than a fast-food restaurant, Goessel junior Brooke Nafziger said.
“”I’m busy with cheerleading and other school activities,” she said. “Coming in from 3:30 to 4:30 or 5 p.m. worked out better for my schedule.”
While it isn’t a career move for Brooke, the skills provide options for her future.
“It’s nice to have a background,” she said. “Especially going to a Starbucks or another shop in college, I have an understanding of what things are.”
Brooke said she appreciates the opportunity to use business skills learned in the classroom.
“Math is a strong suit of mine,” she said. “It’s nice to use it in a real-world setting, and not just in school.”
Despite their involvement with the shop, neither Wedel nor Hiebert say they drink coffee.
“I’m partial to the chai tea,” Wedel said. “People say, ‘how can you be a manager at a coffee bar when you don’t drink coffee?’ ”
Wedel says she enjoys the aroma of coffee, but even that has worn off over time.
“I can’t smell it anymore,” she said. “I guess with being so close to it all the time I’ve gotten used to it.”