First, as owners, Scott Parker, Jack Miller and Athan Miller would like to welcome you! In our first blog post, we are going to give a quick history for those of you who are new to us. Additional posts will consist of more of a variety. Each employee will have a chance to talk about what it is like to work at Jack’s and Steamers – and how it has changed their life. We will also showcase new items and exciting new opportunities. So please, encourage your friends to follow our blog!
What is this place? Are you Jacks? Are you Steamers? Is Jack real? What are you??
Don’t worry, you aren’t the first, or the last, person to ask this question. Here is a quick run down of our history that will help explain. We have many names and many faces and do many things – we hope you will stop by, check us out and help us change lives!
Scott Parker and Athan and Jack Miller bought a tiny little coffee shop in the Village of Five Parks in 2007 on a whim that they could run a coffee shop and employ people with developmental disabilities. At that time Athan was working for Scott at Parker Personal Care Homes, the company he still runs and owns. Parker Personal Care Homes provides a variety of supports to people with developmental disabilities, from residential support to day program and employment supports. When the sale went through, Athan stopped working for Scott and started running the coffee shop full time. It was a tiny place, about 300 square feet, but it taught Athan a lot about how to run a small business and employ people with developmental disabilities.
After about 6 months, the opportunity to move into the space next to the coffee shop presented itself. It was over double the size – about 1200 square feet – and had a small kitchen in the back. Scott and Athan decided to move into that space, and started making their own baked goods, small sandwiches, homemade soups while still serving coffee, smoothies and ice cream. Athan, with the help from some good staff and friends, started experimenting with homemade baked goods, pies and jam. After a few years of being in this space, Jack decided to jump in and add a wine bar to our coffee shop. We had a variety of wine, liquor and a few beers – and small food items to match. It was still a small space, but we managed to employ about 12 to 15 people with developmental disabilities.
In 2010, the developers at Five Parks added a new building to the commercial area located in Five Parks. There was a corner space available for a restaurant and Athan, Jack and Scott decided to jump all in. The moved their little coffee shop and wine bar across the street and started Jack’s – a full service restaurant, bar and grill. They didn’t want to lose the feel of their little coffee shop so they moved it too – and put it inside Jack’s. Over the next few years they took steps and learned how to run a full service restaurant- which is MUCH different than a coffee shop. There were a few stumbles, but they tried to remain true to what they believed in: that you can run a sustainable, viable, for profit business and employe people with developmental disabilities.
In 2014 we found that our bustling little business was outgrowing its kitchen. We needed more room! More room to grow, more room to make jam, more room to make baked goods, more room to employ more people. We opened a kitchen across the street from Jack’s and started a training and prep kitchen. We train and teach people with developmental disabilities work skills so that they can work in kitchens all over the Denver area. They learn all types of skills ranging from knife skills to how to clock in and out. They also learn customer service skills, which is so important in the restaurant industry.
While all this is going on, we strive to remain dedicated to our neighborhood and our customers. We want people to feel as if they are coming to ‘their restaurant’ for dinner, not our restaurant. We want people to get to know Jack and his outrageous life and stories. We want people to see that a small neighborhood place can produce good scratch made food and provide employment opportunities to people with developmental disabilities. We want our customers to get to know our staff, our managers, our cooks, our bartenders, our baristas and our servers. But more importantly, we want our staff, our managers, our cooks, our bartenders, our baristas and our servers to get to know our customers. Because without our customers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we want and love to do!