Oswego spice shop serves up opportunities for adults with disabilities

OSWEGO, Ill. (WLS) -- Pinch of Happiness Spice Shop in Oswego offers more than seasonings for your next meal. The business also provides job training for adults with disabilities.

Rebecca Christiansen, founder of Celebrate Differences, opened the shop after one of her twin sons was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

"One of the things I always wanted to do because of my son was look at employment because employment is definitely lower for people who have disabilities," Christiansen said. "I was always looking for a business that we could start where we could do job skills training and employment for adults with disabilities and so we just happened to purchase a spice shop."

Over 300 products line the shelves and participants are in involved in all aspects of the shop, including packaging, making blends, labeling, customer service and marketing.

"The whole goal is they go through our program, they work her for a couple months and then we try to find them employment outside of the spice shop. So the idea is that someone with disabilities doesn't come to the spice shop and work here all the time, it's to get the training and get the skills them be able to move out into the community," Christiansen said.

This is a program model Christiansen hopes to see grow.

"I would really like Pinch of Happiness to start popping up in other communities as well and start expanding. But what I would really like to see and one of the goals of the spice shop would so other business owners to see the abilities that these adults have and open up other opportunities for them because they are so capable of employment and they are the best employees if they are just given the chance," she said.

Pinch of Happiness Spice Shop is hosting its annual 5K race on April 29. For more information, visit: https://www.pinchofhappiness.com/
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