Paper Trails

Creating culture with a teen workforce

Small Business Big World Episode 13: Creating Culture with a Teen Workforce – An interview with Scott McNeff from The Scoop Deck

This is Small Business Big World, our weekly podcast prepared by the team at Paper Trails. Owning and running a small business is hard. Each week we’ll dive into the challenges, headaches, trends, fun and excitement of running a small business. After all, small businesses are the heartbeat of America and our team is here to keep them beating.

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Running a small business comes with many challenges, especially when it comes to building a positive workplace culture. One of the biggest hurdles for business in seasonal areas like Maine is managing a teen workforce. How do you balance the needs of your business with the unique schedules and needs of teenage employees? How do you create an environment where young workers can thrive and grow?

At Paper Trails, we understand these concerns. We’re dedicated to helping small businesses navigate the complexities of payroll, HR, and management. In this episode of Small Business Big World, we’ll explore how Scott McNeff, owner of The Scoop Deck, a beloved seasonal ice cream shop, has successfully created a thriving culture with his teen workforce. You’ll learn about his strategies for hiring, training, and mentoring young employees, and how these practices can benefit your business.

Building a Teen Workforce

Scott McNeff’s family started the ice cream shop in 1983, transforming it from a small family business into a local favorite with a substantial summer staff. His secret? Hiring local teens in high school or college who are responsible and can handle the busy evening rush. But Scott’s approach goes beyond just hiring capable workers. He focuses on the personal and professional growth of each employee, ensuring that their work schedules fit around school and extracurricular activities.  Scott looks at his network and makes introductions between business owners and professionals in the community and his staff in areas that they may be looking to begin their future careers.

Creating a Supportive Work Environment

Scott believes that a supportive work environment is key to a successful teen workforce. At his ice cream shop, respect and support are the foundations. This creates a culture where employees feel valued and part of a community. The staff forms close bonds, supports each other through tough times, and even spends time together outside of work. This sense of family helps the shop thrive, even during challenging seasons when staff availability varies.

Balancing Work and Life

One of Scott’s core principles is balancing work and personal life. He emphasizes the importance of maintaining purpose and connection throughout the year, even in the off-season. The ice cream shop isn’t just a place to work; it’s a place where life lessons are learned. Scott mentors his young staff, guiding them through the complexities of work and life, helping them grow into responsible adults.

Attracting and Retaining Young Talent

Managing a teen workforce might seem daunting, but Scott’s positive workplace culture makes it easier. He uses his staff’s network to find potential hires, ensuring a team that works well together and is invested in the shop’s success. Hands-on training and a focus on employee well-being help retain young talent, making the ice cream shop a staple in the community.

Conclusion: More Than Just Ice Cream

Scott McNeff’s ice cream shop shows that small businesses can make a big impact on their employees and community. By fostering a positive, supportive, and engaging work environment, his shop has become a place where teenagers can learn valuable life and work skills. Scott’s approach to managing a teen workforce provides a model for other small businesses looking to create a thriving workplace culture.

At Paper Trails, we’re here to help small businesses navigate these challenges. Whether it’s payroll, HR, or management, we’re dedicated to helping you succeed. Tune in to the latest episode of “Small Business Big World” to hear more about Scott McNeff’s inspiring story. It’s a tale as rich and satisfying as the ice cream his shop serves.

By applying these principles, you can create a culture that not only supports your business but also helps your young employees grow and succeed.

This podcast is a production of Paper Trails. We are a payroll and HR company based in Kennebunk, Maine, and we serve small and mid-sized businesses across New England and the country. If you found this podcast helpful, don’t forget to follow us at at Paper Trails Payroll across all social media platforms and check us out at for more information. As a reminder, the views, opinions and thoughts expressed by the hosts and guests alone. The material presented in this podcast is for general information purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice. By inviting this guest to our podcast, Paper Trails does not imply endorsement of or opposition to any specific individual, organization, product or service.