While contemplating the move into a larger facility back in late 2011, we knew that the new building would have allow us ample space to grow and expand our offering of vocational opportunities. When the Shoemaker family announced their plans to sell their long-standing small town grocery store, we knew it could be a winning proposition.
What had been the small town of South Vienna’s only grocery store for over 70 years was now up for sale to the highest bidder. We thought to ourselves, “How great would it be if we were able to have a fully functional grocery store in the same building as our Day Habilitation Center, where we could do on-site job training and placement?” The decision was soon made to purchase the facility and its remaining assets. The building was renovated and its spacing allocations rearranged so that approximately 30% of the space would be occupied by a smaller, convenience store, ice cream shop, and carry-out kitchen. The remaining 70& would be our new Day Hab facility. The grocery store, ice cream shop, and carry-out kitchen, together, would make up the new South Vienna Market & Dairy. Adjacent to it, but inside the same building, would be the new Self-Reliance Adult Day Services facility. The plan would be to operate the Market as a separate entity, with its own employees, management, etc. However, Day Habilitation clients would now have the opportunity to work in a real-world grocery store setting, with the guidance of Self-Reliance’s vocational specialists.
We officially began operations in the new South Vienna facility on January 2, 2013. The new building and vocational opportunities have already surpassed expectations. We have implemented a successful program in which our clients who have an interest in earning wages and working in the community are able to gradually work their way into positions in the grocery store and ice cream shop. They are able to gain valuable real-world work experience from the application process to the job interview to resume building sessions. Current participants in the program have taken great pride in their positions and through their own hard work, have put themselves in positions to acquire work in the community with outside companies down the road.