BOISE, Idaho — Twice per week, Robin Boudwin will get on the ACCESS bus, a paratransit transportation service, from her residence in Boise. She arrives at Candy Zola’s Sweet Store, the place she packages sweet containers, trains her colleagues or operates the register.
For the previous two years, Boudwin has been working at Candy Zola’s, a nonprofit that goals to assist its workers with disabilities study very important office expertise in a protected setting. Boudwin has quadriplegia and mentioned the job has given her extra duties than her earlier job at a movie show in Las Vegas.
“It’s given me a way of price,” Boudwin instructed the Idaho Statesman on the retailer.
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Cyndy Radovich is the founder and govt director of Candy Zola’s, a nonprofit named after her daughter, and since 2019 she has been serving to workers like Boudwin discover a place to name residence.
At present, Candy Zola’s has 26 part-time workers, although the enterprise has employed greater than 50 employees because it started in 2019.
The staff are paid $10 an hour and tricks to the shop go straight to the employees. A lot of the workers additionally obtain Supplemental Safety Earnings, Radovich instructed the Idaho Statesman.
The Blister Sisters, a neighborhood health group, not too long ago organized a fundraiser and silent public sale, which raised greater than $1,200 for Candy Zola’s and its workers. The shop was additionally featured on Good Morning America, which elevated its visibility and resulted in a $10,000 donation from entrepreneur Kim Pernell.
“It was actually wonderful and a bit overwhelming,” Radovich mentioned, including that the cash will partly be used for the shop’s hire.
Radovich additionally started a sweet field subscription, permitting the enterprise to ship its merchandise wherever within the U.S. and broaden its buyer base. Radovich mentioned she used among the donation funds to assist begin the subscription service.
Boise retailer confronted challenges throughout pandemic
Zola, Radovich’s 4-year-old daughter often joins her mom on the store and interacts with a number of of the workers. Zola has grown up round employees with disabilities and learns from them, Radovich mentioned.
“She stands up for teenagers in school who’re being bullied due to their disabilities,” Radovich mentioned. “She’s such a fantastic little soul, and she or he’s studying.”
Candy Zola’s was positioned on North Primary Road. Nevertheless, in 2020 through the pandemic, the house they shared with Potter’s Tea Home closed. Radovich needed to seek for a brand new location and located one on Fairview. Radovich found the storefront on her fortieth birthday and known as the owner for a tour.
“The owner had tons of curiosity, however he appreciated me for some motive,” Radovich mentioned. “He appreciated what we had been doing, and he instantly mentioned sure.”
However Radovich mentioned she struggled financially when she opened her new store. Via her different job, working as a behavioral therapist for youngsters, she mentioned she was in a position to help the shop. She mentioned regardless of the challenges, she’s grateful for the second likelihood at maintaining her enterprise alive.
“I believed that after I opened the enterprise, I’d be making sufficient cash to pay myself,” Radovich mentioned. “To be completely trustworthy, I rent everybody, and so I’ve so many workers that as an alternative of paying myself, I pay them.”
However deciding to turn out to be a nonprofit was a troublesome alternative. Radovich mentioned she didn’t need to be seen as a charity and wished to point out that employees with disabilities are keen to work for his or her cash.
“Now we have to work simply as laborious as anybody with no incapacity as a result of we’re proving that incapacity doesn’t imply that we will’t be the identical factor as anybody else,” Radovich mentioned.
Radovich mentioned that sometime, she hopes to ultimately purchase a bigger space to create a greater neighborhood house for her employees.
“Most days I stroll in, and my workers are clapping, they usually’re smiling they usually’re opening the door for me,” Radovich mentioned. “It’s only a lovely household.”
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