Z’s Cream and Bean owners donate business to Medina Creative Housing

By Chris Studor

With a snip of the scissors, Hinckley’s Z’s Cream and Bean has officially become the newest business to be operated by Medina Creative Housing.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held the afternoon of Aug. 16 with both future employees and a list of local dignitaries expressing their overwhelming appreciation to Larry and Mary Ann Zirker, founders of Z’s, who turned over the business to the nonprofit group in March. The new name of the popular ice cream store, located on the corner of West 130th and Boston, is  Z’s Cream and Bean, Creatively Made & Operated.

“The Zirkers did not do this for publicity but we want the community to know of their great act of kindness and benevolence,” said Dian DePasquale-Hagerty, CEO of MCH. “The Zirkers studied what MCH is all about for three years and then made the decision to give the business to our nonprofit. The plaque we are giving them is hardly enough to thank them. The ribbon cutting represents a re-opening of a favorite local ice cream shop.”

Hagerty also held up baseball caps embroidered with little gummy bears acknowledging the practice of Larry Zirker who enjoyed passing out little cups of gummy bears to all the children visiting the store. Larry, Mary Ann and their daughter, Loralie DePiero, owned and operated Z’s, known for its high-quality, hand-churned ice cream with a constantly changing menu of delicious and creative flavors, for the past 13 years.

MCH opened its doors 31 years ago and now operates 18 different programs countywide, Hagerty said. Among these programs are innovative housing and a variety of services and supports for individuals with disabilities. Those served by MCH housing enjoy living independently, holding meaningful jobs while earning incomes, having access to recreational and therapeutic programs and being truly integrated into the community. MCH provides jobs for the disabled, operating Medina Creative Pet Play, Grande Café Roaster, Creative Living Coffee and now Z’s Bean and Cream Creatively Made & Operated.

Ed Stevens, vice president of Medina MCH, was among speakers. Stevens has a disabled son and said MCH “Provides everything I want as a parent of a disabled child.”

“My son works in a nursing home and works in a rehabilitation center and I feel he could work here as well,” he said. “It can be very difficult for the disabled to find employment. In these settings, MCH provides coaches, and mentors. Having a disabled person working side-by-side with typical peers makes disabled people feel accepted and a part of the community and does a great deal for their self esteem.  I am so thankful to the Zirkers for their heartfelt gift.”

Local officials were on hand to offer a warm welcome. Hinckley Trustee Jack Swedyk said he “couldn’t think a better organization to take the reins.”

“It is wonderful to receive such a tremendous gift,” said Trustee Monique Ascherl. “In Hinckley we take care of our own and I think this is a great fit.”

Adding to the list of dignitaries was Medina County Commissioner Colleen Swedyk and Ohio Rep. Sharon Ray.

Several disabled young adults taking part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony have their eye on a future job at the new Z’s Cream & Bean Creatively Made and Operated. Among them is Dylan Goodman, who currently works at the Grande Café and Roastery.

“I’d love to work here if I get the chance and enjoyed being a part of the ribbon cutting,” Goodman said.

Kelly Foote, who also works at the Grande Café, added; she likes “the idea of serving ice cream and will probably work here someday.”

Following the ribbon-cutting, Hagerty invited guests inside for hot dogs and, of course, ice cream.

“We are on a new journey and this gift provides the disabled a new life and opportunity,” she said. ∞

Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty addresses the crowed on behalf of Medina Creative Housing during the Aug. 23 grand reopening of Z’s Cream & Bean. Employees with disabilities are now working alongside traditional workers to serve up the same hand-churned ice cream customers have come to love. Photo by C. Studor.

The crowd looks forward to the grand re-opening of Z’s Bean and Cream, now operated under Medina Creative Housing which provides employment opportunities for the disabled. After the ribbon cutting guests were invited inside to enjoy hot dogs and ice cream. Photo by C. Studor.

On our cover (photo): The grand re-opening of Z’s Cream & Bean, now Z’s Bean and Creamery Creatively Owned and Operated, was celebrated Aug. 23 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Pictured are (left to right) Kelly Foote, Ashely Figsh, Aaron Walters, Ed Stevens, JP Vandendriese and Dyland Goodman. Photo by C. Studor.