Embracing the mission of growth and transformation, our businesses have seen exciting modifications over the past couple of years. They have evolved beyond their original charters and have grown along with our brand to showcase our mission and to become more competitive within their markets.
All of these changes have most importantly meant more job opportunities for our Participants where they can learn new things and gain valuable skills. We are continually evaluating how to provide more growth opportunities for the men and women we serve.
Included here are some of the exciting things happening in our businesses and how they affect our men and women!
Magnolia Café & Bakery
The evolution of the restaurant into a Café & Bakery not only led to a new more contemporary menu, but also created new jobs. In order to enhance the café atmosphere, the lobby was renovated and a bakery display case was added. This new bakery area created opportunities for the Participants to learn new skills.
“I like talking with customers, telling them about the different baked goods and sharing about where we make them in the Country Store!” – Brayanna
Dogwood Garden & Pet Center
This May, our pet shop transformed into a Garden and Pet Center.
The greenhouse and garden center have given Participants the chance to work in a new environment gaining skills in caring for plants and even learning how to grow the plants. Some of the vegetable and herb plants sold in the greenhouse this year were planted and nurtured by the Participants themselves!
“I really like taking care of the plants and watching mother nature take its course.” – Wayne
Wayne has put these new skills to work at home as well! He currently has three vegetable gardens that he enjoys maintaining.
Sugar Maple Country Store
Our production line has been completely revamped into an automated process equipped with a continuous conveyor system. While many times automation leads to fewer jobs, in our case it has given our Participants the ability to be more involved in the production process.
As each Participant gets to operate a station in the production line, such as metal detection and labeling, they have gained new skills and play a key role in the food production process at the Country Store.
“I like that it gives me purpose and is another opportunity to learn new skills.” – Belinda
Cedar Chest Thrift Shop
The Thrift Shop is now open seven days a week. This has allowed for the store to have another day of sales and for the Participants to be able to work another day or have more flexible schedules.
In addition, the Thrift Shop also has its own eBay store, which has provided another outlet to sell the many items donated.
All of the Participants who work in the Thrift Shop are an integral part of the team, such as Madolyn who is the cashier and rings up all purchases throughout the week.
“I have been working as a cashier here for 14 years. Each day I get to meet new people.” – Madolyn
Farmyard & Attractions
Efforts are currently underway to dramatically transform our Farmyard. The new master plan will include increased educational components and other attractions for children and adults of all ages. The goals for this new plan also include increasing our audience of visitors, creating a year-round venue, and providing additional jobs for our Participants.
The past two years we have run a Groupon promotion which has increased visitors to the Farmyard! Akiko works hard to greet all the customers and stamp their hands as they enter. She loves having the Farmyard busy!
Other than the Farmyard, which closes for the winter, all of our businesses are open daily! Come experience these businesses and this wonderful place that our men and women call home! It is a place where everyone grows.