A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Brooke Schnelle is new general manager at The Point Perk, aiming to get it back to its pre-COVID vitality

By Andy Furman
The Point/Arc

She freely admits she’s an addict.

“Yes,” admits Brooke Schnelle, “I’m addicted to coffee.”

That addiction has led the 30-year-old Edgewood native to her new position – General Manager of The Point Perk.

The Point Perk Coffee Shop – 43 W. Pike Street – was established in 2015 as a way for the community to come in for a “feel good” cup of coffee.

“And to see our mission in action,” added Judi Gerding, President and Founder of The Point/Arc, which celebrates its 50th year this June 6.

Brooke Schnelle

But there was more than coffee that led to Brooke’s managerial position.

“I wanted to follow my grandma’s legacy,” she said. “I want to get the Point Perk back to pre-COVID days and beyond.”

Yes, Brooke Schnelle is the granddaughter of Judi Gerding – but there was no nepotism in the hire, she assures.

“I have some specific goals,” said the Notre Dame Academy alum, “I plan to expand our menu with more drink items. I want to add the items our customers are inquiring about and are popular.”

Schnelle isn’t wasting any time at all getting started. The Point Perk has seen growth with their social media presence – including Instagram and Facebook.

“We’re getting involved in the community as well,” she added, “supporting Covington and local businesses is important for us.”

And she’s even introducing a new drink –Lotus Energy Drinks.

“No one in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky-area sells Lotus,” Schnelle said, “we’ll be the first – and only.”

She says daily updates will be available — as well as the new and improved menu — with social media posts.

The Point Perk reduced their seven-day-a-week schedule when COVID hit, Schnelle says, “and we lost some staff as well.”

She says plans call for everything to be back and running at full-strength by the first week of May.

“We’ve already hired two new barristers,” said the University of Cincinnati grad.

In 1982, The Point/Arc opened its first social enterprise, The Point Restaurant, to provide vocational training to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (known as I/DD). In 1985, The Point Commercial Cleaning Company and Employment Program to provide job training, placement and life-long follow-up.

The Point Commercial Laundry was established in 1996. In 2012, The Point/Arc opened the doors to The Point Apparel (formerly The Point Logo and Design Company).

The Point/Arc established its first group home in 1995. The Point currently owns and operates 15 well-maintained homes in beautiful neighborhoods that house nearly 60 residents. The group homes are located in Campbell, Kenton, and Boone counties.

In 1999, to fill a social void in the lives of those The Point/Arc serves, The Point Activities Program was established. The Point/Arc hosts weekly social events, seasonal sports, monthly dances and vacations. In 2004, to provide community awareness and education for individuals with I/DD, The Point Outreach and Educational programs were established.

Point Proud TV debuted November 3, 2021, in conjunction with the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK). The show airs on Spectrum Channel 185 and Cincinnati Bell Channel 821, Wednesdays at 7 pm and Saturdays at 11 a.m. – in Kenton County.

“The half-hour show highlights community development such as new restaurants, new stores and upcoming community events. It also promotes Point programs,” said Shannon Chalfant-Jones, Executive Director for the show. “Viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations and the show production. The students conduct interviews like a real newscast.”

The cast includes students with various intellectual disabilities.

Point Proud TV may be viewed on Public Access Channel, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and The Zembrodt Education Center (ZEC) blog.

“This is yet just another vehicle for The Point/Arc to reach into the community, and at the same time let people know what The Point/Arc is all about,” Gerding said.

Today, The Point/Arc has educational programs which include social communication, transition programs, and career development. In 2013, The Point/Arc added case management as a way to assist individuals and families with finding resources and services through person centered planning that will support them in achieving their dreams and aspirations.

The Point/Arc now serves more than 1,400 people annually through its programs and services. The Point/Arc is always looking for new ways to fill in the service gaps and to integrate individuals with I/DD in the community to reach their fullest potential.

And don’t forget, Brooke Schnelle – she serves coffee.

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